Council allows wiggle room on fire hall budget

Cornwall Fire Services truck 

CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Council agreed at their meeting on Monday, July 13 to allow for some wiggle room in their budget for a new fire hall.

The decision was made as a part of finalizing a Request for Proposal (RFP) asking architectural firms to bid on the design of the new building.

Council had previously set the budget for the new fire hall at $9 million, but administration recommended that the report have a bit of breathing room and accept proposals between $9 and $10 million.

Councillor Eric Bergeron objected to what he saw as a modification to Council’s directions to administration.

“I would have thought the RFP would have gone exactly what we have in the budget,” he said. “We approved $9 million. I have a real issue of it being 10 in there without it being a council decision.”

Cornwall Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Maureen Adams explained that the RFP that was being reviewed that evening was not reflective of what the final tender for the construction of the building would be.

“The RFP is for engineering and architectural services, it is not the actually construction tender we are dealing with tonight,” she explained. “We only know what the actual construction cost is when we issue the construction tender. The budget is not actually changing until we award the construction contract.”

Councillor Elaine MacDonald raised concerns about the open-endedness of the RFP.

“It is so open ended. We are not telling them what our needs are, we are asking them to define our needs,” she said.

City administration explained to council that allowing flexibility in a design RFP allowed for a greater range of firms to apply with a greater range of ideas. Councillor Glen Grant seemed to agree.

“Ties our hands too greatly. To me, you’re tying the hands of administration by going strictly to $9 million,” he said.

Ultimately, Council chose to issue the RFP as is. When the bids are reviewed and a winner is selected by administration the plan will return to council for approval.

Council has already purchased land on the corner of Tollgate Rd. and Brookdale Ave. for the new fire hall for $ 2 million.