Finishing what they started on Iroquois waterfront; business magnates not exercising closed loophole, says mayor

In this Monday, July 17, 2017 photo from the Iroquois Waterfront Committee Facebook page, business magnates John Ross and Lloyd McMillan celebrate another 'generous donation' to the waterfront for more parking spaces and drainage improvements. Mayor Evonne Delegarde says this was a continuation of last year's project and insists the loophole is closed on allowing private citizens to work on municipal property using their own investment. (Iroquois Waterfront Committee/Facebook via Newswatch Group)

SOUTH DUNDAS – The mayor of South Dundas insists an Iroquois businessman and construction company are finishing what they started last year on the town’s waterfront.

“What’s happened was the original project that was last year, with the contribution ($50,000), this was kind of an extension and just repair of what was there. It needed a little bit of extra work…needed some adjustments. It wasn’t quite up to the standards that we (municipality) needed,” Evonne Delegarde said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch.

The issue was a concern last year because private business owner John Ross his privately-chosen construction company (Lloyd McMillan Construction Limited) were working on municipal property. Even though it was a good will donation, it was basically circumventing municipal tendering policies and limiting competition.

Under municipal rules, any work over $5,000 is supposed to go to public tender.

That prompted council to rewrite its procurement policy, which passed in March 2017, to close the loophole.

“Absolutely we came up with the procurement policy, which is in existence. The only reason that this was (allowed to proceed was) because it was already a project that was in the works,” the mayor said.

In a posting on the Iroquois Waterfront Committee Facebook last week, John Ross had “stepped up again to help” with parking lot expansion, ditching and drainage. The construction company tied to the work is Lloyd McMillan Equipment Limited.

As for the optics of shutting out competition, Delegarde said local contractors will have ample opportunity to bid on components of the $4.8 million Iroquois Commons waterfront development project. She pointed to the rebuild of the canteen this year as an example.

“There were two tenders that did come forward and we selected one that’s a local contractor and has done work before on the waterfront,” Delegarde said.

As for Morrisburg’s waterfront, council approved a $25,000 transfer of funds to start work on the amphitheater. The Morrisburg Waterfront Committee has roughly $130,000 in funding to start work.