Posted July 2, 2013
Back last fall, the senior staff agrees to renovate the Farmer’s Market.
The first step was to prepare a specification of the work to be done and walked it past council then engaged in preparing the 2013 city budget. The staff asked for $170,000 all of which was approved by council and became enshrined in next year’s budget.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to startup.
Somehow, the project specs were substantially increased and the cost escalated to $500,000, an amount not approved by council.
The second foul up was closing the market to allow the renovations and arbitrarily moving it to Exhibition Park without any public input. That meant vendors had to shift equipment and operations to the Park arena.
The third total crisis arrived when the staff announced that only one contractor bid the job out of the chosen six preferred contractors. The bid came in too high and the Farmer’s Market project was done like a dinner.
The staff had nine months to make this project work. They failed on all counts, as there is not enough time remaining to find a contractor to do the work at a reasonable price. The project will run up against the opening of the hockey season September 1st, so Exhibition Park is out of the question.
The only alternative is to cancel the renovations to the Market, let the vendors return and get out of the way so citizens can enjoy the fall harvest in a familiar place.
No one knows the cost of this muddled merry-go-round that has inconvenienced customers and forced vendors to operate in a temporary location. Now throw in lack of public confidence that the city staff knows what it is doing.
A more likely staff plan will be to hire an outside consultant to advise on how to rescue this debacle. And again, conduct another poll to measure the public reaction.
Or, maybe that’s how they got into trouble in the first place.
Only in Guelph, you say?