County covers contractor’s $37,000 hotel bill due to COVID-19

In this December 2017, file photo, the morning sun shines on the United Counties of Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry building on Pitt Street in Cornwall, Ont. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SD&G – The United Counties of SD&G has agreed to cover a contractor’s hotel bill due to extenuating circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

County council agreed last week to pick up the $37,130 tab for hotel rooms for Roto Mill Inc. of Orangeville, Ont.

The company had the nearly $2.7 million contract to do paving of county roads.

“The submission that we did receive was direct invoices…it was just hotel rooms. They did have to do extra health and safety, extra vehicles and a lot of extra costs that were not part of this claim. They usually double up their staff but they had to split them all apart. They were here for quite a length of time,” Transportation Director Ben de Haan told council.

De Haan explained that the contract was awarded before the pandemic so the company couldn’t have anticipated the extra cost. But he expects contractors bidding now to include those costs in their bidding.

De Haan’s report added that the company had been transparent since the start of the pandemic that it anticipated costs and started working seven days a week to try an minimize costs.

He added that the county “will be a lot more sympathetic to contractors” about timelines if they are demonstrating they are taking coronavirus precautions but it’s adding time to their work.

“I think we have to be fair in this case,” Coun. Francois Landry (North Stormont) said.

Asked by Coun. David Smith (South Stormont) if this was setting a precedent, de Haan didn’t believe so because this was a pre-pandemic contract.

De Haan says the extra cost will be covered under the contract, since it came in under budget by roughly $260,000 due to better-than-expected cost for materials.