Huntsville approves $270,000 to install washrooms at River Mill Park
Huntsville Council approved $270,000 to install the washrooms at River Mill Park, in the September 25, 2023, meeting.
$235,000 will be taken from the Park ln Lieu reserve, and $95,000 from the Development Charges – Outdoor recreation funds, for a total cost of $330 for the installation portion of the project.
$60,000 that has been spent so far this year, combined with the $300,000 that was donated last year and used to build the washrooms, brings the overall cost of the washrooms to $630, 000 so far.
The cost to transport the washrooms from Quebec is $1967. And an additional cost of $425 per month will be added to continue to store the washrooms until installation next spring.
Staff will open up bidding for two locations out of the 11 options provided.
In the September 7th Special Meeting, 11 location options were provided to Council for the installation site, including some over top of District of Muskoka water and sewer services. Staff were directed by Council to investigate the feasibility of this with the District.
According to the report, the District preferred to avoid installing the washrooms over their services if possible, due to the risk of a negative impact.
Commissioner of Engineering and Public Works, James Steele, advised against putting the washrooms above District water services in case a water main breaks, which could potentially cause the washroom building to collapse. He added that the District’s priority is to provide water service, which could be at risk. He said, “Our job is to maintain service 24/7.”
However, if this option can’t be avoided, the report indicated “the District of Muskoka did express that accommodations could be made to support the locations of the washrooms, however, it was just a matter of cost.”
If the Town chose to install the washrooms over the District’s services, it could increase their costs because if the District’s services failed, the washrooms would have to be removed while repairs are being done, and then put back afterward. This would also disrupt the repair service time for the District.
If Council choose to reroute District’s services altogether, they would be responsible for the design and tendering cost for this as well, in addition to the installation costs.
Steele added that the Town could be looking at $50,000 to $100,000 in costs by putting the washrooms over District services.
The third option provided to Council was to pick two locations, and get actual construction costs, which is the option they decided upon, after much deliberation.
Councillor, Cory Clarke, suggested, “Sell the bathrooms, recoup what we can and work with the donor for a less costly option.” He said he researched costs of other municipal washrooms and indicated “there were problems with filtration, and expensive to operate and maintain.”
Clarke added “I’ve gone as long as I can with this project, and I won’t support it any further.”
Councillor, Scott Morrison, concurred with Clarke. He said, “I can’t get to that number for two toilets,” and suggested Council put a maximum cost on it during bidding. He added, “I can’t approve it with this number.”
Morrison continued that given the awareness of the project out in the public, more contractors are coming forward and that the Town should get as many bids as possible, in hopes of getting one at a lower cost.
Clouthier agreed that the Town be open to more bidders. He said, “We have to open up to all contractors, not just the three. We have to do it right and do it once.”
Council chose two sites for bidding, with the goal of the best rate, and voted 7 to 2 in favour of the initial cost estimate provided.