As senior staff members from the City of North Bay discuss their next move in the Cassellholme redevelopment saga, the proposed Community and Recreation Centre (CRC) takes its next steps in the background, away from the limelight.
The $40-million twin pad arena and community centre development has been temporarily benched while the financing issues surrounding the Casselholme project have been at the forefront. Officials say the tendering of the CRC will only proceed by the direction of North Bay City Council.
In February, the City issued a Request for Pre-Qualification (RFPQ) to compile a shortlist of general contractors with the requisite qualifications and experience to manage and oversee the construction of the community and recreation centre planned for land adjacent to the Steve Omischl Sports Complex on Lakeshore Drive.
"The request for the pre-qualification process to qualify for eligibility for the eventual tendering is now complete, but the status of the project has not changed — tendering would be a Council decision," Communications Officer Gord Young tells BayToday.
That RFPQ process is now complete. Following the evaluations, the list of general contractors that qualified are:
- Aquicon (Brampton, Ont.)
- Atlas Corporation (Concord, Ont.)
- Ball Construction (Kitchener, Ont.)
- Chandos (Mississauga, Ont.)
- Ellis Don (Mississauga, Ont.)
- Fortis (Windsor, Ont.)
- JR Certus (Vaughan, Ont.)
- PCL Construction (Sudbury, Ont.)
In February, citizen and former mayoral candidate Gary Gardiner bemoaned the fact the RFPQ criteria eliminated North Bay companies from consideration.
Support for the community centre has not been unanimous, nor has the Cassellholme redevelopment received widespread backing in its current iteration, as municipal politicians attempt to weigh and rank community priorities — especially when it comes to these two expenditures.
Will the recent announcement by the board of its intent to levy the Cassellholme partner municipalities — and the accompanying debt burden of tens of millions of dollars for the City of North Bay — keep the CRC on the shelf for years to come? Elections draw nearer — possibly at all three levels of government — over the next 15 months or so. Time is running short to act on these projects.
Young says the pre-qualification list does not have an expiry date, "although the City could potentially look to review and reconfirm some of the information provided by the qualified contractors should tendering be delayed for a protracted length of time."
If and/or when that direction from Council is given, Young advises "staff would proceed with the tendering phase through Bids and Tenders, with only the eight pre-qualified contractors eligible to make submissions."
Besides the two ice surfaces, the community centre design also includes a walking track, change rooms and a community hall. The $40 million price tag cited by the City accounts for construction costs, engineering, and design.
"The pre-qualification process is the first step in the procurement process for the potential construction of the new community centre," according to the City, and a pre-qualification stage is common for construction projects of this scale. "Qualified respondents will be eligible to participate in an invitational second-stage competitive process for the potential construction of the new community centre."