The Village of Pemberton's water metering project has come under fire from an engineer who didn't submit a proposal to do it himself.
The Village's June 15 council meeting package carried a letter from Alain Lalonde, the President and CEO of Mississauga-based Veritec Consulting Inc., which provides engineering and technical services to governments and NGO's around water and wastewater service.
In the letter Lalonde said he tried to contact various employees at the Village of Pemberton to notify them that the proposed scope of work on a water meter and leak detection project "does not follow current industry best practices."
In an earlier letter sent April 29 he said there are potential liability issues as far as fire flow capacity within the village's water distribution system, as well as excessive disruptions in water supply to customers during construction.
Lalonde stated that his firm highlighted an "alternative solution" that would provide the Village of Pemberton (VOP) with "more accurate information" for water loss assessment and control that would follow industry best practices and "limit the impact of construction to customers."
His solution, he said, would cost a maximum of $200,000, 48 per cent less than the approved tender of $389,363.10 that was awarded to Terrane Construction Ltd. of Pemberton.
Lalonde's letter was brought before council with a recommendation to send it to staff for review and response.
It met with immediate frustration from Pemberton councillor Ted Craddock. He said Veritec should have gone through a Request for Proposals (RFP) that the Village arranged to decide who should carry out a project to install about 949 water meters in residential, commercial and institutional properties, as well as 130 Permalog devices that would help detect leaks in the water system.
"We put out an RFP, he said in his letter he didn't want to respond to that RFP but he's come up with a great idea," Craddock said. "Others put in the time and effort to satisfy what we're looking for... this does not require a response from staff. We send a letter back, we'll get a letter back from them.
"We put out an invitation to bid, he decided not to bid. Let's move on."
Village administrator Daniel Sailland concurred. He said that Lalonde was insinuating in his letter that he can "redefine what the industry benchmark can be" and said Pemberton's RFP has followed industry standards.
"If there was a different industry standard, you'd have more than just one company coming forward with a great idea," he said.
Councillor Susie Gimse recommended that council send Lalonde a letter that simply acknowledged that it received his letter. She also suggested that council refer it to the Public Works committee for consideration. Mayor Jordan Sturdy agreed.
"I can see that this correspondence was received prior to the recommendation coming to council," Sturdy said. "Was there consideration of this or not? That information was never given to council for consideration and I'd like to have some assurance from our engineers that we are getting the industry standard at this point in time."
Other items touched on at council included a Community Census that Pemberton will be conducting throughout the month of June. The census was circulated to Pemberton residents on June 8 and it asks residents to answer questions like where they live, what kind of dwelling they live in and how long they've been in town.
The object of the census is to identify the "character of Pemberton residents" so that the Village can conduct long term social, transportation and infrastructure planning. Residents are asked to return it to the Village office by the end of the month.
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