Builder questions North Bay community centre/arena prequalification requirements

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

A former North Bay mayoral candidate and residential builder has raised questions about the procurement qualifications requirements for the city’s proposed new Community and Recreation Centre.

Gary Gardiner, who ran for Mayor in the 2018 election and lost to two-term incumbent Al McDonald by a 40 to 49 per cent vote, complained in a recent letter to BayToday that the pre-bidding criteria for the planned structure including a new hockey rink “appear to be unnecessarily harsh and exacting so that no construction company in North Bay is eligible.”

“Shouldn’t a growth-focus agenda promote local expertise and ensure well-paying jobs remain in North Bay?” he wrote in an open letter published last Thursday (Feb. 18). “The recently completed 15 million student centre is testimony to our community’s outstanding talents and capabilities. And of course, there are economic impact considerations. Why spend money elsewhere?”

He complains that the selection criteria are “so exacting that perhaps only one company in all of Ontario can lay claim to have constructed no less than three facilities and at least six ice pads in the past eight years.”

In a Feb. 16 statement, the City of North Bay said its Request for Pre-qualification (RFPQ) will shortlist general contractors with qualifications and experience to manage and oversee the construction of the facility, featuring dual-pad ice surfaces, a walking track, multi-use change rooms to service year-round activities and a multi-purpose community hall.

The pre-qualification process is the first step in the procurement process for the potential construction of the new community centre, the city’s statement says.

“Based on the evaluation of responses, qualified respondents will be eligible to participate in an invitational second-stage competitive process for the potential construction of the new community centre. A pre-qualification stage of a procurement process is commonly used for construction projects of this scale.

“As previously communicated through the deliberations and passing of the 2021 capital budget, the second-stage (tendering) of the procurement process will be initiated upon final direction from Council,” the statement said.

The pre-qualification submission deadline on is March 15. The RFQ is listed on bidsandtenders.ca.

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