The Town of Lake Cowichan has fallen short in budgeting enough money to cover the inevitable construction contractor for the new Renfrew Town Square.
The tender deadline for bids to win a contract for the town square from the town was April 4.
By that time only three bids came in, the lowest being from APEX at a total of $431,455.64 before taxes, which council has decided to accept.
The problem is that council had only budgeted $356,800 to cover the cost and will now have to look elsewhere in the budget for an extra $75,000 at least.
“I would recommend that we go with the APEX bid but we’d be looking at a change in the budget,” said chief administrator Joe Fernandez at last week’s Finance and Administration Committee meeting. “All three of the tender bids came from Duncan. The problem is we have to accept one tender or reject them all.”
The other two tender bids were $791,500 from Stone Pacific and one from Stalker Excavating which was over one million dollars.
“Where are we going to get the extra money from?” asked Coun. Jayne Ingram. “That’s a big concern and I would hope we ask APEX to sharpen the pencil.”
Mayor Ross Forrest tried to look on the bright side.
“It could come out of one of our existing budgets from other areas,” said the mayor. “I would hope we can find the money in the budget from somewhere else. It took a long time to get to this stage. I’m disheartened. Perhaps some projects can be put off.”
Coun. Tim McGonigle was similarly saddened.
“It’s unfortunate on the timing of the tendering,” he said. “It’s no fault of our own staff. I would be concerned about raising taxation as we have already approved a three per cent increase. We have to find the money from somewhere.”
Fernandez feels there are some capital projects the town could postpone until next year.
“We’d be looking at the project starting soon if we want to award it,” he said.
Coun. Frank Hornbrook does not want to see the town stopped in its tracks to bring the new town square to life.
“I would like to see us go forward,” said Hornbrook. “We could pull some money out of the South Shore Road improvements. I’d hate to see anything come out of parks. The Central Park washrooms and the stage need to be done if we want to have functions going on down there. We’ve spent a lot of dollars on this already.”
Coun. Bob Day still wants to see South Shore Road completed.
“I wouldn’t like us to take away any money from finishing South Shore Road,” he said.
Finance director Ronnie Gill said that staff could work with the numbers and get back to council, with Forrest asking to see as many options as possible to pull money from elsewhere.
“I would hope that the superintendent can negotiate with APEX to get them to sharpen the pencil,” said McGonigle. “We can negotiate with the bidder once council accepts.”
Hornbrook then made a motion to accept the APEX bid that was passed unanimously and now town staff will have to come back to council with budgeting options.