Not local enough

Somewhere between June 20 and July 18, a bid made on the City of Parksville’s proposed online broadcasting of council meetings suddenly wasn’t good enough.

Somewhere between June 20 and July 18, a bid made on the City of Parksville’s proposed online broadcasting of council meetings suddenly wasn’t good enough.

It wasn’t that it couldn’t do the job.

It wasn’t that it was missing an essential requirement for the work.

It wasn’t that it was too expensive. In fact, the company chosen on June 20 by city council was the lowest bidder.

It was, say two city councillors, that it wasn’t local enough.

So, after council approved the one bid at its June 20 committee of the whole meeting, councillors Carrie Powell-Davidson and Teresa Patterson used the opportunity of a depleted council (two councillors were away) to force — almost a month later — a re-start of the bidding process.

This time, they want more of an emphasis on local bidders.

This, despite the fact the local bidder was more than double the cost of the initially-successful company.

City hall should, without a doubt, seek out local contractors and suppliers at every turn. But how far should they go to maintain that policy with taxpayer dollars?

Should city hall engage the services of a local business, even if that means paying a lot more money for the same service? And what if it’s an inferior service compared to that offered by another — not local — company?

Obviously, Parksville councillors have some work to do on what, exactly, they want for this job. When the new tenders are released to the public, it will be interesting to see how the wording — and the priorities have changed.

To twist the words of councillor Al Grier: if no one is watching city council, we won’t know if the deal is worth it.

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