Staff presented a report to Huntsville Council at its January 29 meeting with a recommendation to approve the installation of the donated washroom for River Mill Park at location 1 (noted in the map above).
Brandon Hall, Civil Engineering Technologist for the Town, told council that a soil test had been conducted on location 8 and it came back clean. “So there’s nothing in the ground that … is worrisome for that type of project,” he told council. He said staff moved forward with the tendering process for the installation of the washroom in either site 1 or 8. Hall said staff received eight bids ranging from $92,000 – $367,000.
“We reviewed the bids. We put them through a ranking and we’re proposing location 1,” he said. According to Hall’s report, the recommended location would cost an estimated $171,445.50 versus $160,148.2 for location 8. He said location 1 was chosen because it is closer to the children’s playground, it enables the retention of open space within the park and no further tree removal would be required.
He gave the breakdown for the preferred site 1 location as follows:
Hall also proposed a 50 per cent contingency in the price. “By putting in the contingency [it]allows us to proceed with the project through change orders, if we have to, without coming back to council but a contractor is not entitled to that contingency unless it’s through a change of order signed by both the contractor and the Town, just so we fully understand how that works,” he said.
Councillors said they were much happier with the price and hoped the contingency fund would not be required.
In his report, Hall also noted that, if approved, the cost could be offset by an accessibility grant in the amount of $78,000, which he said staff had applied for.
Deputy Mayor Dan Armour called it a good news story and asked when installation would begin. Hall said as soon as half-load road restrictions are lifted, generally between May 9 and 31, or sooner weather permitting.
Huntsville Councillor Scott Morrison said he’s glad council asked staff to revisit the project and noted it has resulted in savings.
Huntsville Mayor Nancy Alocock agreed, “This really is a good news story. This is such a different number from what we were talking about before, and we all benefit.”
Councillor Cory Clarke, who has not supported the project in the past, said he has concerns about the reliability of the washroom. He said that based on his own research, he came to realize that the washroom breaks down, is not vandal-proof, and doesn’t stand the test of time. “There are many towns and cities that have had issues with those types of bathrooms and actually are removing them now. So when breakdowns happen they require outside maintenance and worst case they’re not able to be used until the repairs happen, so that was a concern to me.”
Clarke said he fears some councillors have unreasonable expectations of the washroom, “and I hope we’re not being set up for disappointment with these bathrooms.” But he said the Town now owns a bathroom that cannot be returned or sold, so he would be voting in favour of moving forward. “But let me be clear to say that, if we didn’t already own this bathroom I wouldn’t support moving ahead with this project. I just don’t believe this type of bathroom is the best option but, like I said, we own it now so it’s decision time.”
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of moving forward with the project. The funds for the donated washroom will be coming from development charges.
You can find the detailed staff report, HERE (pdf).
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