Prince Rupert Council members hosted a short five minute session on Monday, taking care of a final zoning vote towards the new RCMP detachment site at McBride and Third Avenue East, as well as to announce the successful bidder on the contract for construction of the new police facility for the community.
With only Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven absent for the 3PM session, Council made quick work of the zoning issue, approving fourth and final reading for Zoning Bylaw 3511, 2022.
The Council members set the stage for the final vote at their December 5th session when the zoning change from Marine commercial to Public Facility received first, second and third readings.
That vote was followed by the introduction of a report from the Chief Financial Officer which provided background to the Council members on a contract award for the construction of the RCMP detachment to CT Northern Contractors Alliance Limited Partnership.
The award noted by Mayor Herb Pond as one under the Master Services Agreement.
Council members had an advantage over any residents that may have been watching the Monday afternoon live stream of the Council session, with the report delivered to them prior to the 3 PM session and no Agenda listed for the Special Council Sessions.
Councillor Nick Adey did make an inquiry towards why the contract award was being discussed at the Special Session.
"I'm just wondering why we needed to do this in a Special meeting, what is the time pressure that creates this?"
Towards an explanation Mayor Herb Pond turned to the City Manager Dr. Rob Buchan, who then deferred to the City's Chief Financial Officer Corinne Bomben.
Ms. Bomben observed how the firm was ready to get to work on the site.
"Actually they're prepared to start right away, but we needed the zoning to actually pass first before we presented a contract award" -- CFO Corinne Bomben
Councillor Adey then followed up with a question for Ms. Bomben on price certainty for the project.
Ms Bomben offering up an explanation of the progressive design build that the project falls under.
"I've outlined the model itself in the report, it is under what is called a progressive design build, and design builds typically, basically, provide much of the detailed design and owner statement of requirements in advance.
And that way everything pretty much is already known, some cost certainty, we have a cost consultant that has vetted the prices that were provided through this contract.
So there's comfort between both parties, the owner and the contractor to be able to deliver in the price that is the target.
But I will pass it over to the Director of Operations for further discussion if there's anything else that he can add." -- CFO Corinne Bomben
For his part Mr. Pucci had few notes towards the topic.
"There's really no more to add, I think our CFO went through it, they've done the exercise, they've got cost consultants and gone out to market and have narrowed that scope down to be able to give us a certain price that we're comfortable with." -- Director of Operations Richard Pucci
Councillor Cunningham followed up with some financial questions towards the contract award.
"I know we took out a loan for 25 million for this and then we had I believe 1.1 million in reserves, so it comes up to the amount of 26.1
But I see a contingency in here for 1.96 is that contingency definitely going to be used or is it ... just in case."-- Councillor Barry Cunningham
Ms. Bomben outlined how she views the process moving forward.
"It's definitely just in case, the contract that they've provided is 20 million dollars, it actually includes a small amount of contingency within their contract for any of the last minute unknowns, once they finalize the design because that is a part of the second phase.
However, there's an extra little bit of contingency because we had budgeted the 26.1 million dollars, so all I'm outlining is that it is still within budget and that of the 26.1 budget, there is that buffer as an extra contingency."
Councillor Cunningham also asked if there could be a price escalation towards the project.
"So, the progressive design build model, which I really don't understand, but you say it's a thing of the future and present and it gives you more stability in pricing.
But you're also saying that the design isn't totally complete.
So could it possibly go higher than the total?"
The CFO provided an outline as to what elements could come into play in the future.
"The contract takes into account the fact that there could be some small adjustments within it, that would be determined more so after the detailed design.
However, that being said the owner statement of requirements has been quite thorough, so there would only be very, very small little bits in the last part of the detailed design.
That are possibly at risk, but that would be within the contingency that is part of the contract." -- CFO Corinne Bomben
With the Council members having exhausted their questions to the topic, council then voted to approve the motion, with all members voting in favour and none opposed.
The contract award is just the latest in the win column for CT Northern Contractors Alliance, which has been selected for a number of previous contract awards in the last few years.
We contacted Corporate Administrator Rosamaria Miller on Monday for some background on how the Special Regular Council session process works when it comes to Agendas and information requirements.
As well, she also relayed some notes on when residents may expect to see the Report to Council available for review on the city website.
The Council Procedure Bylaw states that notice be posted 24-hours in advance of a Special Meeting but there is no requirement of the agenda.
That said, it is normally our practice to post the actual agenda, with accompanying reports, online with the notice time was certainly a factor this week.
Council were able to receive it for the their review but we were unable to get it posted online in time for 3pm today. It will be posted today.
There appears that there was a delay yesterday towards that publication timeline, once the report is posted to the city website we'll include the link.
Update: The Report has now been added to the City of Prince Rupert Agenda page, you can review it here.
So far the City has also not posted a video of the five minute Special Regular Council session to their YouTube archive, should they do so, we will include it as part of this story for the review of our readers.
Update: Monday's 6 minute Council session video was posted to the archive on Tuesday afternoon.
More notes on the work of Prince Rupert City Council can be reviewed through our Council Discussion page.
Some background on the RCMP detachment plans can be found on our Major Projects Archive page.