Contractor hired for new Seeley’s Bay fire station construction

Photo via Township of Leeds and 1000 Islands Fire Service.

The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands (TLTI) Council has voted to hire JCB Construction, at a total cost of $5,846,112, to build the new fire station in Seeley’s Bay.

Council approved the motion 5-2 during a special meeting on Monday, Dec. 18, 2023.

At a previous council meeting, on Nov. 14, 2023, council deferred the decision regarding the construction of the new Fire Station No. 2. Council wished to consider the project in the context of the proposed 2024 capital budget, which was to be presented by staff at the December 14, 2023, meeting of Council.

During the November 14 meeting, Council was made aware that a decision regarding the new fire station was needed by December 31 in order to avoid the tender lapsing. Had Council wished further to defer a decision on the new fire station, all bids would have been null and void.

Councillor Angela Kelman backed Council contracting JCB Construction to build the new fire station, adding that the cost of construction materials is not expected to go down in price over the next couple of years.

“I don’t think we can wait two years for a new firehall,” said Kelman. “We should be building something that is going to last.”

Councillors. Jeff Lackie and Brock Gorrell were the lone members of Council to support cancelling the tender and engaging IDEA Inc. to redesign. Gorrell, specifically, was not pleased with the increasing cost of the project, and the process as a whole.

“Before the tender went out and we had engaged IDEA group, we were presented with still a surprising number to it, somewhere around $4.2 million, with all the bells and whistles. We wrapped our heads around that and felt somewhat comfortable with that plan,” said Gorrell.

“And then, it goes to tender, and it comes back at (over) $6 million.”

At that point, added Gorrell, Council had no opportunity to properly question the increase.

Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke gave her reasoning for supporting construction of the new firehall.

“At this point in time, the funding strategy shows 16 per cent borrowed funds out of $16 million spent from 2024 to 2033, so, in the end, that is where my comfort came from, is that at this point, it’s a reasonable amount of debt for this municipality to take on,” said Smith-Gatcke.

Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) reporter based in Brockville. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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