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Wellesley takes a step towards new multi-use facility

Moving ahead with plans for a new multi-use recreation facility in Wellesley, township council’s next step is to solicit a request for proposal (RFP) in hopes of prequalifying up to six contractors interested in taking on the project.

The township has earmarked $15 million for the building. It has thus far been unable to secure funding from the federal or provincial government.

In a 3-2 split decision Tuesday night, councillors approved an $8,000 stipend for each of the contractors chosen to submit a proposal that includes drawings, a floor plan and possible elevations for a new building that will include an arena, youth centre and gymnasium. There are also plans for a dedicated space for the Woolwich Community Health Centre (WCHC).

In 2020, staff prequalified 13 contractors from among 19 that submitted proposals for the centre. From those remaining, the top six will be invited to bid on the project.

Overall, the township expects to spend about $56,500 on the RFP process, including $48,000 for the stipend to six contractors. In a report to council, director of recreation Danny Roth noted the process doesn’t commit council to approving the new rec. project.

Coun. Peter van der Maas asked why they were going with six as opposed to three or four applicantions from contractors.

Roth responded that the township may not get as many competitive bids with fewer companies involved.

“Six was just the number that we came up with that we felt was a good number to get the correct variety that we’re going to need in an RFP such as this. By narrowing it to three, you may not get the competitive bids that you necessarily need by going with more, going up to six. You could see a variance in pricing coming in, and that will give us better opportunities to possibly come together with a better price from a contractor,” said Roth.

Mayor Joe Nowak followed up by saying that with a project this size they should not dismiss any prospective companies, stressing that more is better, noting the process calls for up to six bids, though the township may not get that many responses in the end.

In response to a question from Nowak, Roth noted there are guidelines for those taking part in the bidding in order to meet the threshold for receiving the $8,000 stipend.

Coun. Carl Smit argued against the awarding of stipends, saying they’re not warranted for the project.

Chief administrative officer Rik Louwagie said stipends were deemed appropriate given the amount of work specified in the RFP.

“We put together a bit of a timeline as to how much labour it would take for these contractors to do the drawing portion alone, and $8,000 is a number that we put together for a senior architect, junior architect and an assistant that would work on preparing the design for this drawing. Then on top of that, they’re estimating teams will still have to do all the other work,” said Louwagie.

After a recorded vote requested by Smit, the motion was passed 3-2.

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