Belleville council has approved the tender to build its new police station at an estimated cost of $26.3 million, more than $6 million above the original estimate made in 2013.
All councillors except Coun. Mitch Panciuk endorsed the lowest bid, that of Buttcon East Ltd. of the Vaughan area.
Mayor Taso Christopher said the building, which had housed Belleville Water and Veridian Connections, could be ready in as little as 18 months. He said he’s glad to see a tender approved at last. Christopher noted it’s been on council agendas since 2006 – three terms ago.
The city’s special projects manager, Joel Carr-Braint, had recommended council approve one of two options: either renovating and building on the existing building or to complete that work plus an overhead shelter to protect the 14-vehicle fleet from the weather. Council chose the latter on a motion by Christopher seconded by Coun. Kelly McCaw.
The tender closed June 27 after 39 days.
Buttcon East was the lowest of the four bidders, with net contract costs of $21.4 million for the first option and $21.8 million for the second. Graham Construction and Engineering Ltd.’s bids were the highest:$25.7 million and, for the second option, $26 million.
Coun. Paul Carr said council had been told just weeks ago by staff that the projected cost of $21 million was still accurate, yet the figures had changed upon receipt of the tenders.
“It’s disappointing and we’ve been down this road before,” he said, though he added he wanted the project to proceed.
Coun. Mitch Panciuk said there had been some “unacceptable” delays and it took council “far too long” to select architect Shoalts and Zaback Architects Ltd. of Kingston.
Panciuk said some may view council’s scrutiny of the costs and process as a lack of support for city police, but that “could not be further from the truth.” He, too, said he wanted the project to continue but that members of council must be stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Architect Raymond Zaback said steel prices, due in part to new tariffs imposed by the United States, are in part to blame.