Heather Black/News contributor
You get what you pay for and cheaper isn’t always better.
This was the thinking behind municipal council awarding a hydraulic conductivity assessment of the Sicamous Narrows to Kerr Wood Leidal at $47,493, plus GST.
Three bids were received for the project, and district operations manager Joe McCulloch said all were below the $50,000 allocated for the assessment, $33,000 of that being grant money from the B.C. government.
The highest proposal came in just above the KWL one at $47,554, while the bottom tender was curiously low at $34,470.
McCulloch explained staff’s recommendation of KWL followed an evaluation process based on past performance with the district, experience, the work program and fees.
“If I use a point and scale system, the financial part is only one component of that,” McCulloch said. “This is all part of creating a team that we feel confident and comfortable working with.”
Town manager Evan Parliament added that by showing their evaluation system, council is not obligated to accept the lowest bid and has some wiggle room in the contract they choose to enter.
“When you award (the contract) and you start negotiations with the successful proponent, you can even negotiate that price down if you choose… if the proponent agrees,” said Parliament. “You can take out stuff, you can modify it; you have that legal right to do so.”
Parliament added the difficult part comes in when the lowest bidder is local but didn’t score the highest.
“That’s when the politics start, and that’s when the pressure to award that contract to the low bid gets to this table.”
Based on the information presented, council unanimously agreed to award the contract to Kerr Wood Leidal who, McCulloch said, has more experience with this type of assessment which will determine the impacts of sediment accumulation within the Narrows, along with its relation to flood risk. KWL was also the only company to address the issue of creating a seawall, which was a component of the district’s request for tenders.