Sooke council takes another look at its contracts

Mayor and council will be looking at costs and conditions of contracts

Council deferred a decision on the road maintenance contract which had expired on Oct. 31, 2011. Mainland South Island Contracting (Mainroad) has ,in the meantime, been providing services on a month-by-month basis for the same fee.

Mayor Milne said there was a lot of money involved and the contract should go to tender.

Council will be seeking further information on what services/conditions are involved in the contract in order to tender. Mainroad has held the contract since 2004.

An agreement with the Sooke Horseshoe Pitching Club to lease land at the Sooke River Road Park was deferred while staff seeks further information. The club is looking to build 16 horseshoe pits and a club house on the property. Council needed to support an application being made to the Agricultural Land Commission for non-farm use of the land.

While everyone agreed that recreational opportunities were necessary, especially for seniors, it was decided that after some discussion on the facility, logging, pros and cons, costs and parking council needed more information.

There was some talk of sharing space at the Sooke Flats through the Sooke Community Association and the two groups were encouraged to speak to one another.

“All we’re trying to do is do it right,” said Milne.

Council deferred the authorization of a payment of $146,480.03 until the books are examined for costs associated with the public boat launch located next to the Prestige Hotel. The expenditure is for contingency items outside the original scope of works related to the public boat launch. The contingency items included; relocating hydro poles, erecting a fence screening the neighbour’s property and an additional lift of road paving due to project delays.

Staff is now reconciling all costs associated with the project. Council has formed a committee which will look at the entire boat launch project as well as the partnering agreement with Prestige.

The district estimated the cost of the boat launch to be $1,065,174.71 less a two-thirds funding grant of  $605,768.67 for a cost to Sooke taxpayers of $459,406.04 (for water-based works). This does not include the cost of the property at about $915,000. The district included the removal of the Florence Filberg in the total cost, which was not necessarily the district’s responsibility to remove, but it was an “exchange” for remedial work in the harbour.

Now, with additional contingency items costs (for land-based works) have escalated a further $294,903.95 which includes $146,480.03 for thecontingency items. The other $148,423.92 is for unapproved cost sharing items with Prestige as per the partnering agreement.

Back in January 2011, CAO Evan Parliament stated that the Prestige would be giving a $500,000 “in-kind” contribution plus $200,000 to the total cost of the boat launch. This left the district with a tab of $300,000, although costs have risen dramatically since January 2011.

Staff budgeted $200,000 to come from the general  operating fund; $259,406.04 from casino funds and a further $294,903.95 from casino and GST Capital Works reserve, to total $754,309.99.

Council did not approve the payment of $148,480.03 for the land-based contigency items and Mayor Milne stated that council would be going through all of the costs one last time. The item was deferred.

“There is an issue with money, “said Milne. “We are going to look into them in detail.”