Special Kings council meeting called to deal with municipal complex construction contract

Kirk Starratt kstarratt@kingscountynews.ca
Published on January 5, 2017

Concerned citizen Warren Peck is calling on Kings County council to have an independent consultant assess the proposed new municipal complex project and the associated costs.

©File Photo

KENTVILLE, NS - Following much debate and controversy, Kings County council could make a decision on whether or not to award the construction contract for the new municipal complex proposed for Coldbrook.

Can you imagine limiting the decision for a project of this size to nine councillors and a mayor and ignoring the citizenry who are paying for it? - Warren Peck

A special council meeting has been set for Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. in the county council chambers in Kentville to deal with the matter.

In a recent interview, Mayor Peter Muttart said he anticipated that a date would be set arising from council strategy sessions held Dec. 8 and 9. He said the special meeting would be called as soon as possible while providing adequate notice to the public.

Warren Peck of Black River Road has sent correspondence to the mayor and council outlining several concerns regarding the project.

He pointed out that the previous council voted in December 2015 to adopt a strategy for the project that authorized the chief administrative officer to “do all things necessary to implement the actions associated with” the new strategy.

“The handing over of authority from council to the CAO transferred the fiduciary responsibility from elected representative councillors to a paid employee,” Peck said.

He said major design questions, such as a size reduction of 4,000 square feet, insufficient parking capacity and council chambers configuration were identified at an Aug. 10 evening design session.

“There was no follow-up final design meeting with councillors or engaged citizens to present and review final design solutions before proceeding to the tender stage,” Peck said.

Peck wants the new council to take time to ensure that the project receives thorough scrutiny and for citizens to be consulted.

“Can you imagine limiting the decision for a project of this size to nine councillors and a mayor and ignoring the citizenry who are paying for it?” Peck said.

He’s calling for an assessment of the project and associated costs to be conducted by an independent and neutral consultant to arrive at a point where an informed decision can be made. Peck said the assessment must be based on a 50-year design life period.

The contract for site preparation for the Coldbrook Village Park Drive property was awarded several months ago. The construction contract award was on the agenda for the November monthly meeting, the first following the October election. However, Coun. Emily Lutz made a motion to remove it from the night’s agenda. The motion carried unanimously.

At the time, Lutz said it was premature to ask five new councillors who hadn’t yet had the benefit of orientation sessions to award the contract. Since then, a workshop has been held to give new councillors a chance to get up to speed on the project.

The recommended motion for the Nov. 1 meeting was to award the contract to Roscoe Construction of Cambridge for the total price of $5,699,000 plus HST. This was the lowest bid. Seven companies made bids on the contract.

Roscoe’s quoted price for the administration building was $4,544,000 plus HST and $1,155,000 plus HST for the public works garage.