The Regional District of Central Kootenay has approved a budget for its Nelson office renovation totalling about $662,000 before taxes.
Dan Maglio Contracting of Nelson, which had the low bid of $302,176, will handle several aspects of the project. Three other contractors from Nelson, Rossland, and Castlegar also submitted bids.
Maglio will be paid $182,770 for base renovations including interior wall reconfigurations plus $79,743 to install more efficient lighting, and $17,775 for upgrades to allow the board room to be used as an emergency operations centre.
Meanwhile, Graphic Office Interiors Ltd., the Vancouver Island company that produced the regional district’s space plan, was awarded the contract to supply new office furniture at a cost of $182,088.
Graphic Office’s bid was actually second-highest among the four but had the best evaluation score, slightly ahead of Cowan Office Supply of Nelson and Total Office of Kelowna, who bid $161,716 and $168,945 respectively.
It’s not clear from a staff report to the board where the lower bidders lost out. The proposals were analyzed by a three-member staff team using a scoring system that awarded up to 500 points for price, 450 for specifications and technical requirements, 250 for contractor performance and services, and 50 for value added.
The total spread between Graphic Office, Total Office, and Cowan’s was ten points. Graphic Office was also awarded the contract for a new file storage, reception area, and copy room for $91,545.
Rural Nelson regional director Ramona Faust asked at Thursday’s board meeting why preference wasn’t given to a local bidder.
“Staff did a very good job of the evaluation, but I wonder if we have any community conversation around the fact there is no local vendor in the purchase of equipment,” she said. “I know I will hear about the fact Graphic Office is the major supplier and wonder if there is any room in the future for locals.”
Administrator Brian Carruthers replied that the regional district’s purchasing policy doesn’t have any provisions to give local vendors special consideration. Chair John Kettle also said he met with Cowan’s before the tender was awarded.
In addition to the above items, directors approved the purchase of a new board room table and staff seating at a cost of $36,273 and budgeted $22,225 for a new keyless entry system to improve security, although the contract has not yet been awarded. They also approved up to $50,000 for workstation accessories, including monitor arms, trays, and extra storage.
Rural Nelson director Ron Mickel said one of his constituents objected to the price of the table: “He thought the [existing] table was perfect as is.”
Nelson mayor John Dooley asked if they would be kept up to date on the costs. “We all know these things can escalate, and in my opinion there are a few areas where there may possibly be additional costs,” he said.
Carruthers said he wasn’t worried about overruns because it is a “finite” project but if something was missed, it would be brought back to the board. “I’m very confident with the work that was done to design this.”
The money will come out of a building reserve which sits at nearly $800,000, meaning there will be no impact on taxation. The total cost of the project is more than the $400,000 to $600,000 originally projected but contains several extras.
Surplus office furniture will first be offered to other regional district services, such as fire halls, satellite offices, and recreation centres, then to member municipalities, and finally sold or auctioned.
The regional district pushed ahead with the renovation to its current office after rejecting a proposal from the City of Nelson to share space in the White Building.
The work, which should be completed this summer, is expected to provide space for up to eight more staff and last five to ten years.