Back to the drawing board

Rudy Norman
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Baie Verte forced to re-visit new Fire Hall after high tenders

The town of Baie Verte is going back to the drawing board to make some tweaks to the plans for their new Fire Hall.

The project, which is meant to be phase one of the new municipal building, will hopefully eventually attach to a recreation centre and form a new, state of the art facility for that community.

The new fire hall is a project that's needed for Baie Verte, after the community lost its fire hall to a major fire in 2010. Since then, a municipal garage has been housing the fire department's equipment.

Plans for a new fire hall and recreation centre complex were announced in 2011.

However, Mayor Clar Brown says the drawing that was released previously, which showed a new, three-bay facility to house the town's emergency response equipment, is going to have to be changed since the tender for the project came in over budget.

"I wouldn't call it a redesign," he said, "just a modification of some things to make it work, and within budget."

Mayor Brown says the town is still committed to having a three-bay facility, and is confident the changes won't mean having to make the building any smaller, or lose any of the functionality they originally intended.

"We still want this to be Phase 1 of the project, and still be able to make the Fire Hall function with a joined Recreation Centre," he said. "That's what the town wants, and I think Government agrees with that."

Originally, the Province awarded the town $2 million dollars through capital works for phase one of the project. Mayor Brown says not all of that money was for construction, however, as engineering work for the entire building, as well as land preparation had to take place.

"Some of that $2 million is already spent, because some of the land preparation is already done," explained the mayor. "We had an opportunity to save some money on some fill, so we took advantage of that, and Government authorized us to go ahead with doing that."

Money spent on the land came to close to $200,000 dollars, said the mayor. Couple that with the engineering work, and suddenly the original $2 million they were working with, is much smaller.

When the project went to tender, and came back, the lowest bid came in well above the money left to do the build.

“We still want this to be Phase 1 of the project, and still be able to make the Fire Hall function with a joined Recreation Centre. That’s what the town wants, and I think Government agrees with that.” Mayor Clar Brown

"The lowest tender came in at approximately $2.1 million dollars," explained the mayor. Couple that with the work already done, and suddenly, he says, the new Fire Hall is clocking in at almost $2.7 million.

"Obviously, like a lot of projects, that's over budget," he said. "Government wasn't willing to contribute the remaining $700,000, and the town isn't in a position to do so either."

Thus, he says, it's back to the drawing board.

The town met with engineers from the Department of Municipal Affairs, as well as their own consulting firm, and the mayor says they hope to find enough efficiencies to get the final number low enough to work with.

"The initial funding of $2 million dollars is for capital works funding for 2011-2012," explained the mayor. "We're hoping to get money in another year, that will allow us to complete phase one."

In total, says Brown, the town suspects a realistic number is around the $2.4 million dollar range, which would include construction of phase one, and the ground and engineering work for the whole building.

"We're confident that we can make it work," he said. They've also met with the Minister of Municipal Affairs on the issue, and the mayor says he's aware of their position.

"We've met with Minister Kent on two occasions since he's been Minister - he's quite familiar with our stand that we want to go ahead with a three bay fire complex and then continue on with phase two, which is the recreational complex."

After the modifications to the design, Mayor Brown says the project will go to tender again, and he suspects early in the New Year they should hear something back.


Organizations: Department of Municipal Affairs

Geographic location: Baie Verte

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