Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Opinion
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Council must explain actions

Why was there no debate around the council table on Monday night when our elected officials decided to spend an extra $263,000 in city cash on repairs to a provincially owned road?

At the last general meeting, council approved the recommended tender for construction plans along Victoria Avenue, from First Street to 18th Street. As the Manitoba government is responsible for Victoria Avenue, the city is co-ordinating with Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation to replace pavement along the affected 17 blocks and add sidewalk accessibility ramps.

There are also minor improvements planned for intersections at Sixth Street and 13th Street, with the intention to lengthen the left-turn bays in order to improve the efficiency of the intersections.

There were two bids made for the construction work. Zenith Paving Inc. offered to do the work for $4.84 million, with the city’s portion for the underground work costing $1.35 million from that total.

The bid from Maple Leaf Construction Ltd., on the other hand, came in somewhat higher at $4.89 million, however, the city’s portion would have been much less at $1.08 million.

Essentially, the second tender would have been $263,000 less for the city. But MIT recommended the lowest overall bid — Zenith’s — which is the one council approved.

As the city only budgeted for $1.153 million, council also approved an additional $297,000 be expended from the Water Distribution Reserve to help fund the project.

We are not necessarily quibbling with the decision to go with a lower overall bid — we can imagine that the province might have been rather insistent that the city agree with its choice based on construction timetables and whatnot. And we are glad to see the province moving forward with its plans to fix our crumbling Victoria Avenue.

But we are aghast at the fact that no one around the council table questioned why Brandon had to foot a higher percentage of the bill in taking the lower overall bid. The choice was simply rubber stamped.

In fact, there was more conversation around the council table when councillors debated plans to chop $50,000 from Renaissance Brandon funding in the 2013 budget last year.

Where was that deference for the Brandon taxpayer on Monday? Why did not one single councillor object to the fact that the chosen tender would actually cost the city $263,000 more than the other option? No voice around that table even made a perfunctory comment about the choices before them, nor questioned why Brandon should simply tag along with the province’s plan, to the cost of the city’s coffers.

It took an inquisitive Brandon Sun reporter asking basic questions to Herb Mahood, the regional operations director for Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation, to find out that taking the lowest bid is part of a provincial policy.

Even if councillors’ hands were tied, why didn’t they say so? There were no excuses made for the decision — not even a lame one — and hardly any comment except a show of hands. At the end of that council meeting, no one would have been any wiser as to the council’s reasoning. In fact, we’re still rather stumped at council’s thoughts on the matter, because there was simply no discussion whatsoever.

These are the people who are trying to portray themselves as worthy guardians of the public purse?

We had hoped that members of this council had finally learned to be careful when making decisions with taxpayer money, or at least a bit more prudent and up front with their constituents.

However, we are once again left wondering if this municipal government has the chops to actually do what it was elected to do — govern responsibly.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 7, 2014

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Why was there no debate around the council table on Monday night when our elected officials decided to spend an extra $263,000 in city cash on repairs to a provincially owned road?

At the last general meeting, council approved the recommended tender for construction plans along Victoria Avenue, from First Street to 18th Street. As the Manitoba government is responsible for Victoria Avenue, the city is co-ordinating with Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation to replace pavement along the affected 17 blocks and add sidewalk accessibility ramps.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

Why was there no debate around the council table on Monday night when our elected officials decided to spend an extra $263,000 in city cash on repairs to a provincially owned road?

At the last general meeting, council approved the recommended tender for construction plans along Victoria Avenue, from First Street to 18th Street. As the Manitoba government is responsible for Victoria Avenue, the city is co-ordinating with Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation to replace pavement along the affected 17 blocks and add sidewalk accessibility ramps.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media