What seemed a basic rubber stamp of a consulting contract for a street improvement project morphed into a referendum on policy by Parksville City Council at its regular meeting last Wednesday.
City staff had recommended a $185,460 professional services contract to Herold Engineering Ltd. of Nanaimo to provide a detailed design for planned upgrades to McKinnon Street and Wallis Street. But coun. Kim Burden noted Herold Engineering was ranked second in the city’s consultant selection process, behind top-ranked Koers &Associates Engineering, Ltd. of Parksville.
Asked by Burden why the second-ranked contractor was chosen, Vaugn Figueira, the city’s director of engineering, said the evaluation covered multiple capital projects with proposals received on each from several contractors.
“Koers and Associates, based on the ranking, were awarded Moss Avenue (design project) recently,” said Figueira. “Some of the other criteria we have to consider is responsiveness and how busy the consultants are. On that basis we gave Herold Engineering the proposed streets.”
Coun. Kirk Oates asked whether Koers was the low bidder.
Figueira pointed out that while construction contracts are awarded using cost as a ranking tool, bids are requested on professional services tenders after the contractor is selected.
“We rank them based on their proposals and then award based on that. Then the top one will provide a quote, and we evaluate the cost based on past experience.”
The vote to approve the Herold contract failed on a 3-3 vote, with couns. Burden and Biel and Mayor Marc Lefebvre voting for, while Oates and couns. Leanne Salter and Teresa Patterson voted against. Council then asked staff to return to Koers to secure a bid for its design proposal.