© Todd Lihou
South Stormont Mayor Bryan McGillis
CORNWALL, Ontario - A local trade association is fuming after South Stormont council went with an outside project manager to oversee the construction of a $1.2-million medical clinic in Ingleside.
Seaway Valley Construction and Trades Association (SVCTA) president Joe Adams is demanding to know why South Stormont council reversed an earlier decision to put the bidding process out to tender, and has instead awarded the project management to the CIBS Group.
CIBS Group is headquartered out of Mirabel, Que., and has another office in Hawkesbury, according to its website.
Adams' association expressed "complete disappointment" in a strongly-worded letter to the township last week.
The association is also raising questions about why the project must be completed by a township deadline of Aug. 29.
"This project will be financed by the township at a cost of at least $500,000 over 20 years," said Adams in his letter. "It appears that the only thing exceptional about this project is its time-sensitive nature."
The questions in the letter, coupled with accusations being lobbed at the township via social media, had Mayor Bryan McGillis frustrated Tuesday afternoon.
"They know damn well why we're doing it this way," said McGillis, suggesting the doctors the township has partnered with requested an Aug. 29 deadline in order to be able to move into their new home as quickly as possible.
The existing clinic building has been sold and will become a pharmacy.
McGillis said if the deadline was not achievable, then the doctors would have walked away from the partnership and the new clinic would have been dead. Going out to tender for a project manager would have added weeks to the schedule, he said.
"I'd make the same decision 100 times over," he exclaimed. "This is huge for South Stormont. The project will definitely attract more people and businesses to south Stormont."
Deputy Mayor Tammy Hart, the only member of council to vote against bringing the CIBS Group in to manage the project, suggested local workers are being left on the sidelines.
"I'm sickened by it all," she said in an interview. "The proper process is to always have tendering.
"We all voted in favour of tendering."
But McGillis countered that the township has explicit language in its agreement with the project manager to retain local tradespeople.
"They're going to have work," he said. "Every subcontractor will be local."