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Councilor Stroud challenges restoration of $579,000 single-bid parking garage – Kingston News

If you’re someone who regularly parks in downtown Kingston, you’ll probably agree that the Robert Bruce Memorial Parking Garage near Bagot Street is in desperate need of some serious restoration.

A van navigates the narrow entrance to the Robert Bruce Memorial parking garage near Bagot Street in downtown Kingston, where emergency shoring is currently in place pending restoration of the parking structure. Photo by Josie Vallier.

Councilor Peter Stroud for Sydenham District – the district that adjoins King’s Town District one block from where the parking lot is – doesn’t disagree with that. The self-proclaimed ‘downtown guy’ however challenged the awarding of the recommended contract for this restoration work which was presented to Council in a report at its meeting on Tuesday July 13, 2022.

The request for proposals (RFP) for the restoration project, which sought to address the deterioration of the parking structure of this lot, originally closed on Thursday, June 16, 2022, according to the report by Neil Carbone, Commissioner of Corporate Services for the Kingston city. Two bids were received from contractors, one of which “did not exceed the minimum threshold and therefore did not proceed with the evaluation process”, the report said.

The other bid, from Brook Restoration Ltd., scored above the minimum threshold as stated in the original RFP. A bid must score a minimum of 34/45 in the non-price criteria, with Brook Restoration scoring 18% on “experience and qualifications”, 24% on “proposed methodology” and 3% on “accessibility”. . On price criteria, the company scored 55% on “pricing and related costs,” with the final bid being $579,000, and a score of 81% for city staff . To be clear, the City of Kingston’s tender score is over 100%, which is not the case with all tender scoring systems.

“Much of the deterioration to be addressed by this project is progressing, which means that a delay in reissuing this RFP would result in increased repair quantities and overall project costs. As much of the work requires good weather to be completed, reissue of RFP would delay work to summer 2023,” the report said, noting that City staff “consulted with contractors on the lack of bids received on requests proposals such as this,” and that due to the large amount of work available to local contractors, many are not currently seeking additional work. 27 companies have uploaded the tender documents in question, however, only two were submitted, and only Brook Restoration’s offer was considered.

“Ministry staff are satisfied with the bid and it is recommended that this contract be awarded to Brook Restoration Ltd. who submitted a bid with a high score. The mandatory submission and technical requirements of the RFP were met, and their submitted proposal articulated an acceptable methodology to meet the requirements outlined in the RFP,” the report concludes.

Councilor Stroud was the only member of council to request that the item on the recommended contract be separated from the rest of the report, in order to discuss it on the floor of the council chamber.

“If you read the report, you will see the large sum of money that is needed for this restoration. And you might be thinking…that’s a maintenance cost we can’t avoid. But I think before committing this amount of public funds, we need to have a good understanding of the pros and cons,” Stroud began.

The actual age of the structure was not stated in the report to Council, however, the RFP for the project includes “original construction drawings from 1966”. Acknowledging that parking has been around “for a long time,” Stroud explained that with parking systems there are capital costs, operating costs and maintenance costs, and they also have revenue from parking. , which enter every day.

“It’s not in the report, but is there a way to see the cost-benefit analysis, or even at a very high level of what this work accomplishes…rather than considering that it’s about necessary repairs? Obviously the alternative would be to downgrade the garage and go in a different direction with that money… So maybe the staff could talk about… what’s the income of that garage on an annual basis and then we can compare to cost? he posed.

Paige Agnew, Community Services Commissioner for the City of Kingston, responded first, indicating that she did not have this information in front of her at the time of the meeting.

“We certainly have that broken down by structure in terms of overall parking revenue. I just don’t have that information available to me right now,” she said.

“It’s a shame; it’s hard to make a decision without it,” Stroud replied before quickly moving on to her next question. (Agnew later said she was able to extract the numbers and that “c is approximately $250,000 per year associated that comes from the parking reserve fund”.)

Councilor Peter Stroud asks questions to City of Kingston staff regarding the contract to restore the Robert Bruce Memorial Parking Garage during the Tuesday July 12, 2022 City Council meeting. Paige Agnew, Community Services Commissioner for the City of Kingston (left) and Councilman Jim Neill inset. Image captured on screen.

Pointing out that there was only one bid on the RFP, Stroud asked if the City was able to keep the RFP open or resubmit a new RFP for bids, noting how the work in question is urgent.

Agnew noted that the RFP was actually issued by the facilities department, not her (community services) department, so she couldn’t answer her questions “with 100% certainty,” but said that to receive further bids, the first bidding would have to be canceled and reissued, the caveats being price and time.

After more back and forth between Stroud and Agnew, Jeff Rempel, Director of Facilities and Building Services for the City of Kingston, joined the conversation.

“We only got one responsive bid, the second bidder,” he said, noting that, compared to the estimate the City received from a consultant, “we were very pleased of that number, based on the extended scope they are that we ask them to play.

“[It was u]below what was expected,” Rempel noted, referring to the size of Brook Restoration’s offer. “The price that was received for the breadth of services they provide is a very good price in this market. We could definitely cancel [the RFP, but] we would run the risk of prices going up from what we have now.

Finally, Stroud wondered if this should be a “warning sign” that the bid was lower than expected, thinking, “you wonder if they’ll be able to finish the job with the level of quality you would expect.”

Rempel said city staff interviewed Brook Restoration as part of the negotiation process, asking similar questions of the contractor regarding quality, scope and risk mitigation. “We were very pleased with their responses to this interview,” Rempel concluded.

Currently under emergency construction, the Robert Bruce Memorial Parking Garage shows a clear need for repair, as emergency shoring has been put in place to ensure structural integrity until the on-site restoration project begins. Photo by Josie Vallier.

Councilor Bridget Doherty, representing the Portsmouth Borough, also asked about the contractor’s reputation and ability, wanting to know if the town has worked with Brook Restoration in the past. Rempel explained that the City has indeed worked with this company in the past, and that the contractor is actually the one currently working on the structure of the Robert Bruce Memorial parking garage, performing “emergency shoring” to maintain the stability of the structure pending complete restoration. .

The only other Council member to speak on the issue was Simon Chapelle of the Loyalist-Cataraqui District, who asked if the RFP had only been advertised on Biddingo.com, a popular online bidding platform. He also asked if work on the parking structure in question should take place this year, or if it could be postponed until next year in the hope of obtaining “more competitive offers” afterwards.

Desiree Kennedy, the city’s chief financial officer and treasurer, confirmed that the RFP was only posted on Biddingo.com. Chapelle’s second question remained momentarily unanswered.

“There have been repeated questions from me about the bidding processes and the procurement processes used, which suggests that we are considering using other sources of bidding,” said continued Chapelle. “When you stop ‘Mom and Pop’s Fish and Chips’ for a construction project, I don’t think they’re capable of doing the job,” he said, apparently implying that major municipal projects shouldn’t not be attributed to smaller or less important projects. -experienced companies. “So I think we need to expand our network or just say no to these kinds of projects.”

At that time the vote was called and the recommendation passed by a vote of 11 to 1, Councilor Stroud opposing it. No official timeline for the construction project was provided at the meeting, however, City of Kingston staff said work would begin this summer.

The full meeting can be viewed on the Kingston City Council YouTube channel.

Deena S. Hawkins

The author Deena S. Hawkins