The new Prescott-Russell Residence project has outgrown the capacities of the United Counties, according to Counties’ CAO Stéphane Parisien.
At its latest meeting, the UCPR hired Colliers Project Leaders to oversee the project going forward. The decision came almost exactly a year after it hired the firm to help find a location for the new residence. Initially, that process was only supposed to cost $35,000 but last October that jumped to $71,000 after Colliers hired an architect and a cost consultant.
Finally, in April the UCPR announced the new residence would remain in Hawkesbury.
During the latest meeting, Colliers made its pitch to council to have the new residence ready by the end of 2022. That deadline is also conditional on the UCPR receiving an additional 78 beds for the new residence courtesy of the province.
“In our experience, projects usually go wrong in the beginning, not at the end,” said Andrew Rodrigues, project manager with Colliers. “There’s a lot of questions to be answered.”
He then proposed a five-phase plan, spanning the project. The first two: planning and initiation, and design development were quoted at $202,800; the entire management plan was estimated to cost a little more than $745,000. The average annual cost to the UCPR would range between $160,000 to $220,000.
Infrastructure Ontario has funding available to cover up to three per cent of the construction’s total cost as management fees. Colliers estimated the entire project would cost upwards of $70 million.
Following the presentation, Guy Desjardins, mayor of Clarence-Rockland, asked Stéphane Parisien if the UCPR was guaranteed to get the 78 beds for the new construction.
“We haven’t received any more information regarding financing or when we’ll receive confirmation,” he replied.
Desjardins asked how the project could move forward if they didn’t know how many beds to expect.
“It won’t be the same building if there are 78 more beds,” he said.
Rodrigues stepped in and essentially said the firm would be looking at both possibilities of a 146 and 224-bed residence. He added there was enough prep work to be done to not stall the project at this early stage until the ministry confirms the bed total.
Fernand Dicaire, Mayor of Alfred-Plantagenet, noted that the costs presented were in 2018 dollars.
“There may be some increases as we move along,” he added.
Rodrigues replied that with ever new phase, the firm would revise the costs “based on known design at the time and market conditions.” As an example, he added, “Escalation in construction materials is a concern at the moment, especially around this region.”
Following the meeting, The Review asked Parisien about the decision to hire Colliers without going through a request for proposal process and comparing with other firms.
Parisien said the current relationship and costs presented were enough for him to “comfortably” recommend Colliers to council. Asked about possibly finding a cheaper option through RFP, he said, “I don’t know this but less than likely.”
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