Plans to renovate City Hall hit a major snag when the tender issued in April received only one bid. That bid was for $598,000 — more than double the project’s $285,000 budget.
A statement issued by the City on Friday, June 20, said municipal staff and the project’s architects have “re-evaluated the scope of work including internal estimates for cost of construction and have confirmed that the bid price exceeds reasonable estimates.”
“The internal analysis generated a comprehensive review of the overall City Hall needs including the potential relocation of Council Chambers and workspace allocation within the rest of City Hall,” the statement said. “This analysis will delay the renovation and while difficult, Development Services can continue to function adequately in the current space allocated upstairs in City Hall.”
The renovations include the addition of an elevator to make City Hall wheelchair-accessible. The elevator would be housed within the existing tower.
Last year, the City completed a successful organizational restructure that it said improved customer service and reduced operational costs. The renovations are intended to continue this momentum. An unusually large assessment ruling consumed the intended resources for the renovations in 2013.
“The unexpected costs have created an opportunity for us to revisit the entire City Hall needs and to continue to find ways to deliver the best value and service to the public,” Chief Administrative Officer Tim Palmer said in the statement. “There is an opportunity for further reduction of operational costs by consolidating the Council Chambers within City Hall and eliminate a second facility.”
The City Hall Renovation Report complete with options will be presented for Council consideration at the regular Council meeting on Tuesday, June 24. The options include:
- Repost the invitation to bid on the renovations unchanged;
- Repost the invitation to bid with scope of work amendments and or other changes;
- City staff could undertake the construction works which would reduce staff time for other projects;
- City staff could act as “general contractor” and procure individual trades as smaller portions of work on an as need basis; or
- The scope of work could be reassessed to align with other City Hall needs, including the elevator installation and stucco replacement which would delay the project.
“While we are disappointed that the competitive procurement process did not proceed as planned, we hope to complete the exterior work this year and move towards completing the interior works as part of a larger project in the near future,” Mike Thomas, director Engineering and Development Services said in the statement.
Meanwhile, Council is expected to decide on the Second Street streetscape and entrance project. The Heritage Committee and Enhancement Committee have both endorsed the exterior enhancements. $30,000 has been requested from the Tourism Infrastructure Funds for this project.