Town narrows lists for rink proposals

With the help of two separate reports on evaluating proposals from 15 firms to build the new indoor ice facility adjacent to Memorial Arena, town council yesterday narrowed the field down to five bids.
Keewatin Aski (Sioux Lookout), Trak Engineering Inc. (Thunder Bay), GBR-KGS Consultants (Winnipeg), Accutech Engineering (Winnipeg), and Kuch Stephenson (Thunder Bay) survived the first cuts.
These five remaining firms will be interviewed, with the committee of the whole next meeting July 6 at 2 p.m. to discuss what questions will be asked.
The town is expected to begin the interview process with the remaining firms by the second week of July.
In the meantime, the town also will a project manager.
Due to the nature of some of the discussions at yesterday’s meeting, councillors elected to go behind closed doors for almost an hour.
“We didn’t want the press [there] in case someone had previous experience [with a firm] that they could be liable,” Mayor Glenn Witherspoon said after the meeting.
But the separate reports, one completed by Operations and Facilities manager Jerry Tetu and Toby Munro of the engineering department, and the other by engineer Brian Avis, differed significantly in the ranking each firm’s bid.
In fact, Kuch Stephenson, one of the firms that made it to the shortlist, was given the lowest combined weighted rating by Tetu and Munro but received one of the top five recommendations by Avis.
But Mayor Witherspoon downplayed the difference, saying councillors decided to place Stephenson among the five shortlisted bids based on Avis’ assessment.
In fact, four of the five bids that Avis put in his report were accepted by councillors. The lone exception was Peterson Habib Consultants Inc. of Thunder Bay.
The report prepared by Tetu and Munro reviewed each submission based on the firm’s work plan, cost/value, schedule, experience, staff qualifications, and local involvement.
Avis’ report looked for submissions indicating strengths in ice surface experience, financial stability, sound organizational ability, history of ability to perform in Northwestern Ontario, in-house capability for design and engineering services, and statements relating to operating/maintenance costs.
Avis also suggested the successful candidate be informed by July 10 in order to have a fully “commissioned” facility by October, 1999.