‘Troubling’ Williamstown fire station project $115,000 over budget

The former South Glengarry public works garage on William Street in Williamstown. Retrofitting the garage for a new fire hall has gone over budget by $115,000 with potentially more costly problems on the horizon. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

WILLIAMSTOWN – Converting the former Williamstown garage into a new fire station is over budget by six figures and is running into other potentially costly problems.

Township council approved the contract this month for the retrofit of the William Street building.

There were three bidders and two made it through the primary evaluation by township staff.

The final two were both over budget – the lower of them was CMG General Contractors of Summerstown at $715,000.

The project budget, approved four years ago, set the price at $600,000.

The extra amount will be taken from a fire department reserve fund, which will need to be paid back in the 2023 budget.

Adding to further problems, Fire Chief Dave Robertson says an inspector found problems with a part of the roof that’s deteriorating “more rapidly than expected.” Robertson didn’t have a quote on the work as of the July 4 meeting.

Mayor Lyle Warden called the roof situation “troubling” and “very concerning to me” considering asphalt roof problems can lead to bills for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Deputy Mayor Stephanie Jaworski said the project being over budget is “never good but perhaps not as troubling” considering other projects have seen construction costs double.

Coun. Sam McDonell seemed to justify the cost saying the budget was approved in 2018 and “we all know what the construction market has done since then.” McDonell said delaying the project would result in another cost overrun.

The work does not include a future underground water storage tank at the property. The township is still in talks with Parks Canada about sharing the tank as part of a fire protection plan for Sir John Johnson House. As well, a location for an underground fuel tank has not been selected.

The public works building is being retrofitted for a fire station after the township explored expanding the John Street fire hall but there were problems meeting parking and septic requirements on the land. Public works has since moved to a new building on Airport Road.

The entire public works-fire hall plan has been in the works since 2017.