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Huntsville decisions about new River Mill Park washroom deferred again
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Huntsville decisions about new River Mill Park washroom deferred again

Posted: 2023-09-08 06:36:34 By: thebay

Huntsville Council deferred the decisions about a site location and budget increase for the new River
Mill Park washroom, in the September 7, 2023, Special meeting.
Upon the request from Council to investigate potential sites in the July General meeting, Civil Engineer
Technologist, Brandon Hall, provided eleven options, including over top of District water and sewer
service locations.
Deputy Mayor, Dan Armour, inquired about whether they would have to remove the water systems
prior to installing the washrooms and whether this would be an added cost.
Hall indicated that it wouldn’t be easy to do and would increase the costs. He advised that they could
leave the water systems, however, “There would be repercussions if we don’t. Some construction is
needed.” He added that if they choose one of these locations further discussions would be required,
however, “I wanted to give you something to look at. It’s not off the table.”
Councillor, Monty Clouthier, inquired about whether the costs for the options provided were tendered,
other than the original tender of $330,000.
Hall advised that the costs indicated were not tendered but rather estimates.
Councillor, Helena Renwick, referred to the “white elephant” in the room. She said, “I’m not
comfortable spending $330,000 putting washrooms in a park. I cannot wrap my head around spending
that much… I’m not comfortable spending that much money on a platform on a washroom.”
Councillor, Scott Morrison, concurred with Renwick regarding the costs. He added, “We can’t make a
decision until we know the cost to re-route the [District] services…” He continued that Council also
needs the estimates from tenders to be able to see the construction costs as well.

Council discussed issues such as accessibility, and potential soil contamination with some of the site
Hall indicated that they would have to test the soil in some of the options prior to going to tender.
Renwick said, “I’m trying to wrap my head around the $10,000 test cost.”
Councillor Morrison suggested tendering a few sites per company at once, in addition to potentially
including a cap on the costs to save money.
Director of Financial Services/Treasurer, Julia McKenzie, advised that “it’s tricky” to tender three options
at once and get bids. She said, “The responses we’re getting on tenders is not favourable,” and
suggested they don’t request tenders on more than two sites at a time because it’s a lot of work for the
companies, unless they waited until 2024 to give them more time.
Mayor, Nancy Alcock, raised concern about the $2000 storage fee if they continued to wait past fall.
Clouthier expressed, “We’re elected officials. People pay us to make decisions… Pick a spot and go from
there. If the price is too high, then we have to go with that… We’re running staff ragged going back and
forth. Pick one spot, go for tender and see what happens.”
Regarding providing a cap to the tenders, Renwick suggested, “I do think if we went to tender what’s
stopping businesses from not lowering the number because they see the budget?”
Councillor, Jason FitzGerald, said, “The reality is that this is what this costs in our modern society today.
Other communities are doing it. They’re benefitting from it…park washrooms. It’s a bitter pill to
swallow.” He suggested it’s a benefit for the long term, and added, “As much as I don’t agree to spend
that amount of money, we need to spend that amount of money.”
FitzGerald added that our dollar value will continue to decrease to approximately 50 to 60 cents next
year. “The longer we sit on it, it will cost us even more.”
He also texted the original bidder inconspicuously during the meeting to confirm whether the $330,000
bid would still apply given the Town was past the 90-day response time. He said, “The bid is still valid,
and he will bid on other locations as well.”
McKenzie advised FitzGerald, “Council is precluded from procurement.”
Council agreed to defer the decision about the site location and Capital Budget increase until the end of
the month. In the meantime, staff will investigate the potential for placement of the washrooms at the
District’s water and sewer service locations as further options for consideration.