14 Sep Opening of new EZT township office opening delayed
East Zorra-Tavistock’s new township office was expected to be open for business this month, but a number of delays have led to a new opening date. The project is now expected to be completed by November 17.
Township Chief Administrative Officer, Karen DePrest, said in an email that construction continues to progress. “There have been some delays due to supply chain issues, trade availability scheduling, and obviously some weather interruptions. The new projected occupancy date has been pushed back to November 17. Everyone is working together to achieve that timeline.”
The new build had an original price tag of $4.5 million, but council passed a $5.575 million deal last year that has London’s Michael Clark Construction developing what the township called a much-needed new headquarters. Council opted to award the tender to the lowest bidder, and nine of the eleven submissions were within $1 million of each other.
“We are in continual dialogue with the contractor and meet with them onsite bi-weekly. However, while construction is underway, the facility is in possession of the contractor. As is typical for these situations, we cannot, under the terms of the contract, provide operational details on behalf of the contractor with regard to their supply of goods and/or tradespeople under contract.” She added the township will be providing an update to council when the project has finished to address any outstanding issues that could have an impact on residents, taxpayers, or the community.
DePrest added the project remains on budget. “We can also confirm that, to date, our cost tracking shows we are moving along within the approved scope of project costs.” While there was not a firm commitment several months ago, the township said they are heading towards making meetings available for more members of the public. “We remain very much committed to taking advantage of the capabilities of the new facility in making council meetings accessible to the public. This has been a part of the design process. A report is planned for the September 20 meeting to share an update on changes to the current agenda and minutes process resulting from new software being implemented as the initial step toward the recording and future streaming of council meetings.”
The November meeting of the Recreation Advisory Committee was scheduled to be held in the township’s new digs but has been pushed back. The tentative date is now Wednesday, December 13, at 7 p.m. There may also be an open house for the public to tour the new building prior to the meeting.
The township said supply chain issues are to blame for a lengthy delay in flag poles being installed at the new building. The poles will be put in sometime next year. Staff was going to draft a Community Flagpole Policy but that has also been pushed back until more details on the specifications of the poles are known. Councillors are in favour of having a Canadian and Ontario flag with the third pole available for approved community groups such as Oxford Pride after undergoing a yet-to-be-seen approval process.
Potential transit service
EZT staff are researching the possibility of acquiring a previously owned para-transit vehicle with the idea of what they are calling a pilot service program. Should the project go ahead and be unsuccessful the township believes the vehicle would be re-sellable. The township said the pilot would provide an opportunity to look at various routes, times, and locations without entering into a long-term commitment with a vendor. If the program is well-received, EZT would look at issuing a request for proposals to continue the service.
Annie Rowland, the camp’s owner, requested a one-week delay in meeting with township staff to discuss the usage of Tavistock’s Queen’s Park for next year’s potential camp. Pricing will also be discussed along with the importance of accessibility to the township’s public spaces such as washrooms, spray pads, and pavilions.
East Zorra-Tavistock is readying for its first-ever Strategic Plan and decided to extend the closing date for requests for proposals by one week. All interested parties had their submissions into the township by September 6. Staff will now evaluate the proposals and bring recommendations to council at the September 20 meeting.