MORRISBURG – Much like eating the proverbial elephant, the Municipality of South Dundas will tackle the Matilda Hall renovations one bite at a time.

Council rejected two tenders in May that exceeded the $75,000 budgeted by more than $300,000 for new flooring, windows and doors, painting and bathroom renovations.

Director of recreation and facilities Ben Macpherson broke down the work into two phases and suggested council forgo the traditional tender process in an effort to reduce costs and expedite the renovations.

Macpherson had received quotes for flooring of $30,000 and $35,000 prior to the tender process, which were priced at more than $200,000 by Ottawa General Contractors (OGC) and Zenith Solutions from Carp.

Phase one would consist of painting the auditorium, replacing window panes and seals, and installing new vinyl composite tile, including potential abatement for the asphalt tile currently in the hall.

Macpherson recommended luxury vinyl tile (LVT) be used and that it be installed on top of the existing floor.

“It’s designed to handle wear and tear of the hall. As well, it would be 100 per cent waterproof when installed,” he said. “The way the [old] tile is adhered to the floor there could be a lot of chipping of the sub-floor, which would just add extra work in smoothing it out.”

Councillor Lloyd Wells agreed that was the best way to go.

“Put underlay over it then you have a new floor. That eliminates the problem of the existing tile. No worries about having that floor there,” he said.

Councillors Don Lewis and Archie Mellan favoured the phased approach.

“It gives more local contractors a chance to put bids in on it,” said Lewis.

While Wells agreed with the rest of council about the structure of the work, he was of the opinion that a committee of the whole meeting should be held with staff to provide guidance for improving municipal requests for quotes and tender prior to moving ahead.

Any work that is budgeted at $10,000 or higher is subject to the tender process except in public works and water where the limit is $20,000. The limits at the county level are $50,000.

Having higher limits often sees work done faster and under budget, but the process is very detailed and can be less transparent.

“We discussed about a committee of the whole to go into detail to work with staff to give a recommendation on how to go about doing this,” said Wells. He added that he would be against voting in favour of moving ahead “unless we can have a talk about how to go about this and getting quotes and how to word it.”

Mellan disagreed.

“I’m more comfortable with going ahead and doing phase one now,” he said.

Deputy-Mayor Kirsten Gardner thought it was an opportunity to test the process.

“I’d like to get the ball rolling. If [Macpherson] is able to go out, get the pricing so we can test it and see what the numbers are and then it would be brought back for further discussion,” she said.

Wells relented when he was assured that one company wouldn’t be sought to do all of the work for phase one.

“I don’t think the intent is to put any of it together when you piecemeal it,” said Gardner.

It was also established that a committee of the whole meeting regarding the procurement process would be scheduled in July.