MORRISBURG – All is Wells in Iroquois as Councillor Lloyd Wells and director of recreation and facilities, Ben Macpherson, finally resolved the outdoor Iroquois rink building issue.
The public space, which was frequently used and expertly maintained by volunteer James Tyrell the previous winter, had been lacking a suitable out-building since the previous council got lost in the details on how and whether or not to fix the roof.
As time dragged on, nothing was done and multiple reports piled up stating the building was at the end of its lifespan, was generally unsafe and that it contained asbestos.
As a result, the building was closed to public access and in one of the first meetings this edition of council ever had, they moved to erect a temporary structure for the kids to change into their skates while a more permanent solution was pursued.
With more than 40 pages of reports, estimates and other details, Macpherson documented the lengthy struggle to get the issue resolved Tues., July 2.
Along with Wells, he offered to council an immediate, effective solution, which had been discussed at length in a private meeting between the two.
The existing building would be removed and the slab re-used to erect a 16 by 20, wood-framed, insulated building with a steel roof. The interior would house a change room, small unisex accessible washroom and a storage area for equipment. A small heater would be placed in the building and it would be finished with simple plywood on the inside for durability.
Wells estimated the entire project wouldn’t exceed $25,000, adding “that’s on the high side,” he said.
The key to Wells’ plan is to break the project down and allow companies to bid on the work through quotes, rather than through the tender process.
In order to do so, the work must not exceed the $10,000 limit set by the municipality’s procurement policy.
“I think if we broke it down like that we can get this building built fairly cheap,” said Wells.
At issue was that council had $20,000 set aside for the project, only $16,500 remained and abatement of the roof was estimated at more than $18,000 alone.
Wells assured the rest of council that demolition could be done quicker and cheaper than quoted by simply using an excavator.
Councillors Archie Mellan and Don Lewis liked the idea, but weren’t comfortable moving forward without seeing hard numbers.
“It sounds so simple, but I want to actually see what the demolition is going to cost and what a new building is going to cost. It sounds reasonable, but it’s almost like buying a pig on a poke. The price could be way out of control,” said Lewis.
Wells argued that any pricing had to be approved by council anyway and with time running short, he wasn’t willing to go back on his word.
“We have no choice here. We can’t wait for budget. We’ve got to find the money somewhere because we promised them a building,” he said.
To further speed up the process, Wells offered to provide all the drawings for the new building, designed to code.
“This is like building a big dog house. I would do this on my own time,” he said.
Deputy-Mayor Kirsten Gardner agreed it was time to move on.
“It’s a simple building. There’s no need for it to get complicated,” she said. “We’ve got to move forward with this stuff. It has to go.”
Mayor Steven Byvelds concurred a relatively simple matter shouldn’t take this long.
“They need a building. It’s been well over a year trying to do this, that and everything else,” he said.
Council moved to begin the process of obtaining pricing for work. A future report is expected at council with the over budget expenditure.