After some discussion on whether or not to hire a local company, Bonnyville Town Council ultimately followed policy and awarded the regrouting of the pool to an out-of-town company, JAC. There were a couple of factors that led to the vote, split 5-2 in favour of JAC Inc, an Edmonton company, over Ashley Fine Floors, a Bonnyville company. Factors included guaranteed cost and a Town Council policy that bids be awarded based on cost if the project is more than $10,000.
“The swimming pool needs to be regrouted every 15 years,” explains Bill Rogers, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, for the Town of Bonnyville. “We did an inspection and it indicated that it does, in fact, need to be regrouted. This project is going to involve an extended shut-down time, of about eight weeks.”
The suppliers need at least 2-3 months’ lead in time to schedule work, it was requested of Council to decide on the matter so the project could move forward for July-August. Two quotes came back, JAC Inc $43,4220.00 and Ashley Fine Floors, $46,307.40. JAC Inc was able to quarantee their prices, however because Ashley Fine Floors uses suppliers in the United States, they could not guarantee the cost.
Mayor Gene Sobolewski advocated for the project to be awarded to the local company, “there’s $3,000 difference, we have a local business and we’re all suffering some hard time. I’m wondering if it’s prudent to look after our own, versus someone from out-of-town.”
Councillor John Irvin was in agreeance with the Mayor and added, “we get taxes from Ashley, and not JAC. I’ve also had a lot of experience with Ashley Fine Floors and they’re always there. If you have a problem, they’re always there. In my experience from working at the Provincial Building for over 30 years, with out-of-town contractors, they don’t come back to Bonnyville. They’ve got your money and they’re gone.”
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Mark Power, reminded Council of the Town’s policy, if the project is under $10,000 the difference can only be 10 percent of the cost and it can be awarded to a bidder who is not the lowest. If the cost is over $10,000 then it has to be awarded to the lowest bid. Power also attested to JAC’s service, “they’ve done work for us in the past and we’ve never had any issues.”
Another argument that was countered that JAC Inc was willing to guarantee their prices. JAC is willing to guarantee their prices and Ashley Fine Floors gets their product from the States. Councillor Rene Van Brabant questioned the strength of the Canadian dollar, “with the way the Canadian dollar is going, that could make a huge difference.”
With arguments on the table, Council voted, 5-2 that the contract be awarded to JAC Inc. Mayor Gene Sobolewski and Councillor John Irvin were the two that opposed the vote.
Funding for the project will come from the 2016 Capital Budget.
There may be additional work needed at the pool, including the wading pool basin and the swimming pool deck. Nothing has been decided, as to whether or not the Town will move forward, nor has anything been awarded for these projects.