Brantford Council approved the purchase of an HVAC system for the Brantford Civic Centre during their regular meeting on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
Councillor Brian Van Tilborg brought the urgent report that council approve the non-competitive procurement for the installation of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the Brantford Civic Centre from Vicano Construction at a cost of $1,625,000.
“The Civic Centre has been in dire need of this upgrade, and it would be very unlikely that it would ever happen because it hasn’t happened in the first 50 years or so was unlikely to happen again, it just happened to be the fact that we’ve landed the Bulldogs and it allows us to give reason to invest in the Civic Centre and this is the way we are going to do it,” said Van Tilborg.
Van Tilborg agreed with the recommendation to purchase the HVAC system but did request some clarification from staff regarding the non-competitive procurement versus the traditional tender process.
“There’s a timing issue here. And for us to procure this work design, etc. we may not meet that timeline in terms of the season starting and more importantly, a playoff run,” explained Inderjit Hans, Deputy CAO for the City of Brantford. “With no air conditioning, if the season does go into April or May there’s a risk to that ice, and Vicano Care able to procure and move a lot faster than the City so that we feel that it’s very important, actually really critical to this project to succeed, that we move forward with this report.”
Councillor Dan McCreary echoed Van Tilborg’s sentiments that the HVAC system is definitely needed, especially during the summer months.
“If Vicano is not staffed up to do the HVAC work themselves, certainly they’ll be using a trusted sub trade that they likely use on many projects that they’re comfortable working with and that’s going to facilitate the work being done in a professional and timely fashion so that we’re able to open on the day we want to open and certainly you know going into the springtime as hockey does now it is important to have the air conditioning to supplement the cooling plant as well. And certainly those of us that will be in the stands will appreciate it during the month of August when it can get mighty warm in there,” said McCreary.
Kevin Davis, Mayor for the City of Brantford, also expressed some concern with the process of the non-competitive procurement process, saying he doesn’t usually support sole-sourcing.
“However, we learned through COVID, that unusual situations, challenges and opportunities sometimes require innovative responses and a response that is along the lines of that’s not the way we do it and this is the way we always do it, would result in no air conditioning in place, by the time the season begins, and you can’t do the work during the season as it is too disruptive,” he said. “You could then have the end of the season, we don’t have the air conditioning, and then you would have the air conditioning being installed likely next summer when you’re trying to fill the arena with other events. You could then turn what is a very promising opportunity for our community into a disaster, and make us look as a city that can’t seize opportunities that come along our way.”
Davis continued, “There are a lot of good reasons why, in this situation, we’re stepping away from our normal, usual procedure. And that’s the only situation in which you do this when there are a lot of good reasons for doing it. The drawback to not doing it is far less than the great benefits to doing it this way. I think it’s a decision that common sense brings you to, a real desire that, in September, all eyes will be on us across the Ontario Hockey League. Can we do it? There is a lot of speculation, not in this community, that we won’t do it, that we’re not up to the task. Well, guess what, we are and we’ll get it done.”
Council unanimously approved the the non-competitive procurement for the installation of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the Brantford Civic Centre from Vicano Construction Limited pursuant to section 4.02(e) of the Purchasing Policy at an upset limit of $1,625,000; and that the General Manager, Public Works Commission and the Manager of Purchasing BE AUTHORIZED to execute an agreement with Vicano Construction Limited and any amendments thereto related to the installation of the HVAC unit at the Civic Centre.