Local Keremeos businessman Jake MacDonald is mad as hell at the Village of Keremeos over their tendering process, and he is speaking up about it.
“This (park) washroom contract is the last straw,” MacDonald, owner of Keremeos Home Building Centre, declared April 16. He’s fed up with being completely left out of the loop supplying materials to large village projects like the current rebuild of the community’s park washrooms.
MacDonald said a simple clause in the contract stipulating that local services be given an opportunity to bid would be all he needs to be in the game – instead of being overlooked every time.
“The guys who pay the taxes in this community should get a chance to bid,” MacDonald said, “it’s like they don’t think anyone in this community has the talent or the ability to compete.”
MacDonald said he pays $10,000 per year in taxes and is lucky to see $8,000 in business from the village.
“I do favours for the village, lend them my forklift, and get return business that is more of an inconvenience than anything else. The village doesn’t account for anything (to me) in the way of sales.”
MacDonald said the recladding of Victory Hall was another project that could have been done locally, but was let to out of village contractors.
MacDonald is looking for a public apology from the village for its lack of support to his and other Keremeos businesses.
“I’m ticked,” he said, “Why should I consider them if I can’t even get access to village work?
“I’m looking for an apology – I’m done dealing with them.”
Keremeos Chief Administrative Officer Laurie Taylor apologized for the perception the village was not sympathetic to local suppliers, but said legislation prevented them from “tying the hands” of general contractors hired to do village work.
“It’s actually against the Community Charter to favour one supplier over another,” she said, “we can’t hire a general contractor to do the work, and then tell them who to buy from.
“If we were acting in the capacity of general contractor, and piecemealing every aspect of the contract, then we could provide opportunities to local suppliers, but we lack the capability to do that.”
Taylor said that preference could be given to hire a local general contractor if that company was within a certain per centage of the lowest bid, but that didn’t necessarily guarantee local procurement of materials.
“If we can, we buy from Keremeos Home Centre,” Taylor said, “our maintenance staff are in the store frequently.”