No choice in board decision

911 service contract had to go to Kelowna

The recent vote by regional district board to grant a five year contract to Kelowna for 911 service  should not have come as a surprise to anyone involved in the decision.

The board embarked on a quest to find a new rate for 911 services late last year, after discussions that had a majority of the board believing that they needed to find a better deal than the one they were getting through their contract with Penticton dispatch. To that end, they put forward a Request For Proposal after informing Penticton that they would be cancelling their contract at the end of this year.

The board, at the time, was uncertain that the move would result in savings, or even whether the RFP would result in a useful alternative proposal.

The result of the RFP was surprising. Out of four possible service providers, Penticton’s bid was ‘way out of line, with the other three bids, who were within 212,501 dollars of each other over the five year term of the contract.

Penticton’s bid was 1,576,500 dollars more than the next nearest bid – at 2,865,000 dollars versus Fraser Valley Regional District’s 1,288,500 dollars. Kelowna’s winning bid came in at 1,075,999 dollars.

The directors could argue all they wanted about the validity of Kelowna’s bid, whether or not the services would be identical, or the safety perils posed by a non local organization unfamiliar with regional district addresses and places, but in the end, none of the arguments mattered.

The cost differential between the RFP participants was simply too much for any director to ignore. To have done so would surely have been political suicide, especially for rural directors. They would have been crucified by the electorate for accepting the Penticton bid, no matter how many jobs it saved locally.