Belleville is moving forward with construction of a new police station.
The debate on the issue was long and sometimes heated at Monday night’s city council meeting.
The staff recommendation was for the lowest bid from an Ottawa area company, Buttcon East Limited, at a total cost for the new station of $26.3 million.
This will include renovations and new construction at the site at College Street West and Sidney Street, plus an overhead shelter to protect the 14-vehicle fleet from the weather.
Councillor Paul Carr questioned the jump from the original $21 million. He said a report two weeks ago never indicated this and was still at $21 million. Carr called for a detailed staff report.
Carr said there was no explanation in the report and councillors had to ask the questions.
Mayor Taso Christopher, who is also Chair of the Police Service Board.
Christopher said staff have made some “grand slams” such as the Veterans’ Bridge and get “slammed for goofy reasons.”
Consultant Ray Zabak pointed to the 35% hike in steel prices in May as one of the costing problems. He also said the I-T and security systems were more expensive than originally considered.
Councillor Mitch Panciuk called it a “frustrating process” and said he had concerns not just for this project but others in the city. He found it “misleading not just for council but for residents.”
At one point during Panciuk’s comments, Mayor Christopher asked “Are we going to get a question?”
CEO Rick Kester explained that the budget was set in 2013 but five years had gone by.
Council approved the tender on a recorded vote of 8 to 1, with Councillor Mitch Panciuk voting against.
Construction of the new station is expected to be completed late in 2019.
On a point of privilege, following the vote, Councillor Carr called for the mayor to retract his comment that questions were asked “for goofy reasons.” Carr said he was asking “on behalf of the people of Belleville.” Mayor Christopher apologized.