MORRISBURG – There seems to be a gap in understanding about the canopy at the Morrisburg Shopping Plaza.

The ongoing work had ground to a halt in recent weeks after Porter Historical Restoration found a gap where the canopy roofing metal meets the vertical parapet wall while replacing the flashing.

EFI Engineering recommended installing flashing in shorter lengths behind the existing tin and the addition of a waterproof membrane at an additional cost of $3,800 for materials and $13,487.50 for labour.

Councillor Lloyd Wells took issue with the quote on a number of levels, prompting director of building, planning and enforcement Don Lewis to offer his explanation.

Tenants at the plaza have had longstanding concerns with the way the canopy was originally constructed and have maintained leaks in their storefront were caused by the feature.

The municipality is aware of seven such issues around the perimeter of the mall.

Lewis disagreed with that assessment.

“The age of the roof and the materials are causing those leaks,” he said. “We can’t see the direct link between that canopy, the way it’s constructed, and the issues that the storefronts are having.

Lewis also added that once roof repairs were completed the leak issues stopped, but that this additional work would buy peace of mind.

“What is being proposed is a solution so there can’t be any possibility that our workmanship or our product is affecting the store,” he said.

Wells wasn’t buying that ideology.

“I have a hard time spending $17,000 of taxpayers money because of assumption,” he said.

The consultation of EFI was also brought into question and that if the work were to proceed, they need proof it’s causing the leaks.

“You could have done the specs. We wouldn’t even need an engineering firm for what we’re doing. We’re putting soffit on and putting new seal on the roof and some wall flashing. Last time I checked, I imagine my grandson could do that,” he said. “I just want to see some proof. I want to get this thing going. Trust me because I’m getting people yelling at me.”

CAO Shannon Geraghty then revealed a new stipulation by EFI that if the municipality does not proceed with additional work they will not sign off on the one year warranty.

The news was hardly welcome.

“That is a bunch of BS,” said Wells. “I would ask EFI ‘okay, if that’s the case, six months down the road, if we get seven more complaints and it’s still leaking do you want to go pay to fix the actual problem?’ Because you know as well as I do, they can sign off on anything they want and you go back [to] them, they’re not going to do anything for us.”

Councillor Archie Mellan was equally miffed.

“I have a hard time with somebody telling me that unless you do what we say you gotta do when they can’t prove what the problem is, they’re not going to sign off on this. Where I come from that’s blackmail. So maybe we should look at another engineering company. I’m not impressed with that,” he said.

Ultimately the decision on the additional work was deferred until the return of Mayor Steven Byvelds who was absent due to family reasons.