The Town of Huntsville approved purchasing and installing a washroom for River Mill Park last September. However, the bathrooms continue to be a topic of discussion within the council. Why is it taking so long?
The council directed the town staff to purchase and install a public restroom at River Mill Park on Sept. 26, 2022.
According to the staff report, the washroom is built and ready to be shipped from the toilet production facility in Quebec to Huntsville.
The report also mentions that staff had the tree removal completed to clear the selected area for further site preparation.
Although the initial plan was to have the washroom installed and working by early May of this year, the council has postponed the decision due to the costs related to site preparation.
ARE COSTS THAT HIGH?
According to the report, the town initially approved $60,000 for the installation, but prices went through the roof due to “inflationary pressures.”
The town requested bids and only received one, which outlined $400,000 for site preparation.
Staff considered the prices exaggerated despite inflationary increases and requested more bids.
“Based on submissions, including design change submissions from each of the three firms, it was determined that a total cost of $270,000 for the finished site preparation work is reasonable,” the report reads.
With this option, total costs would be $330,000, combining the original $60,000 plus the $270,000 added based on the last bid.
At the special council meeting on Thursday, Sept. 7, town staff presented this and 10 other options ranging from $ 202,000 to $ 310,000.
The only option with the exact value is the first option, which refers to the location initially approved by the board. The other ten are estimates. Coun. Morrison says that making the best choice for tender would be the best to make an accurate decision.
“I can only decide once I know what to reroute those services would cost,” said Coun. Morrison. “I’d love to know those servicing numbers and see a call for tender once we pick a location.”
Despite the money concerns, Coun. Fitzgerald says the project must go ahead.
“For everyone who’s going to visit that park, it will be a great benefit. I disagree with spending that money, but we must spend it,” said Coun. Fitzgerald.
Because some of the options presented are on the District of Muskoka water and sewer services and the prices are unclear, the council unanimously approved postponing the decision for the next regular meeting.
“River Mill Update and capital budget increase be postponed to the regular September council meeting to request staff conduct a discussion with the District of Muskoka regarding the placement of the washrooms for water and sewer services in River Mill Park to accommodate a permanent washroom structure,” the motion reads.
Julian Orlando Chaves is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Huntsville Forester. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
By Julian Orlando Chaves, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Sep 08, 2023 at 10:08