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CEO Lowery: Report shows Cassellholme achieved 'gold standard' in selecting redevelopment contractor

'There had been a public comment from the municipalities that our RFP process was flawed'
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Cassellholme is releasing a report on the procurement process for its proposed redevelopment.

The approval of the $122-million Cassellholme redevelopment from the Ministry of Long-Term care has since been secured but the long-term care facility's administration and board are continuing with its plan to release a report they say shows their municipal partners everything was done above board when it comes to the controversial project.

See related: Cassellholme gains reprieve with Ministry of Long-Term Care redevelopment approval

During the most recent Cassellholme Board of Management meeting, a motion was passed to waive client-solicitor confidentiality so the report could be released publicly and shared with the project's stakeholders.

The board observed some officials from the nine partner municipalities had doubted the process that saw two proponents considered for the build, one rejected for lack of recent experience with similar projects, and the other, Percon Construction Inc., selected with no direct competition.

See also: Eight of nine municipal partners ask government to deny Cassellholme redevelopment until concerns are addressed 

And: Calvin Township taxpayers want out of Cassellholme and have the signatures to show it

"The number of bidders is out of the control of anybody," added Cassellholme CEO Jamie Lowery. "The reality is it was a very stringent and tight procurement process. One interesting facet of the report is [the proposal] 'exceeded the needs of the organization.'"

"There had been a public comment from the municipalities that our RFP process was flawed," noted the Chair, Coun. Chris Mayne. "The report goes into great detail," showing otherwise.

See: Opinion: Dave Dale, Cassellholme conundrum deserves closer look

The Procurement Office, a legal firm managing the RFP, was asked by Cassellholme for an outline of the detail and dependability of the RFP process, Mayne tells BayToday. The firm is regarded as one of the best, if not best, procurement managers for large-scale projects in Ontario, he adds.

"It is a legal document. Everything is substantiated. If there was to be a judicial review, that document would stand," stated Lowery. "In essence, what it points out is Cassellholme's procurement process for the redevelopment was beyond municipal standards. It was a 'gold standard procurement.'" 

For the entire 74-page Probity Report for Cassellholme, East Nipissing Home for the Aged, click here.

The summary of the report reads: "Given the successful completion of the procurement process in compliance with the applicable due process and probity
standards for the Cassellholme Redevelopment project, it is the recommendation of the Procurement Office that the selected proponent, Percon Construction Inc., be awarded the contract for the Cassellholme Redevelopment project."

See: Mayor on Cassellholme: 'The guarantee was just one of many concerns'

Of note, the report states the budget for the project increased significantly over the course of a few years. In 2017, "an initial budget of $68.4 million for the construction cost was developed. Taking into account the passage of time and the increased cost of materials due to pandemic-related supply chain issues, a more refined and updated budget of $100 million was established by the Cassellholme Redevelopment team in 2020.

And: Letter to the editor: Councillors should pay ultimate political price for Cassellholme fiasco

Coun. Mark King, a Cassellholme board director, thanked Lowery for bringing the report forward.

 "At certain points, in the community, there was a suggestion that the methods used to determine who was going to do the construction was skewed. Everyone heard it," King expressed. The report had not been seen by the board but "certainly provided a method to understand what we have gone through here — and the staff have gone through — to make absolutely certain this whole project works properly. We have to put it out there."

King added, "By being more public, we've provided more of an understanding for the general public into how hard we've worked on this."


Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for BayToday.ca, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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