Trail council officially awarded a $5.3 million contract to Ledcor Construction on Monday – ground will break for the Riverfront Centre sometime next month.
It’s been years of work getting to this point for the Trail and District Public Library, so on Tuesday, the Trail Times talked with board chair Barbara Gibson about this historic occasion. (Jamie Forbes, president of the Trail Historical Society was not available for comment that day)
“I started on the library board in 2010 and one of the first things I said was, ‘My aim is to make this library happen,’” she began. “So it has been six years of dedicated work by the library board to make this happen – and not only the current library board – but library boards in the past who have brought this up again and again and fought so hard for it.”
The ongoing saga included years of volunteer hours, plenty of back and forth with local officials and stakeholders, and finally, a 2014 referendum that passed 61 per cent in favour of a new facility.
“I really feel so good for them (current and past library boards) because they put so much effort into trying to get an updated, modern, and large library,” Gibson reiterated. “So this is for them as well – for all those people who worked so hard on previous boards.”
Now that the contract has been awarded and construction is slated to begin, the workload hasn’t become any lighter for the volunteers involved.
“September of next year the doors should be opening,” said Gibson. “And to be quite honest, that is when it will be real to me, because there is still so much work for both the library and the historical society to do before that opening.”
“Starting a New Chapter” fundraising is still underway – together the two organizations are aiming to raise $400,000 toward outfitting the new state-of-the-art facility.
In addition to that, there is not only planning the move, but what to bring into the new space.
“The work is beginning, I have to say my board and the library director have been working nonstop to get a finished list of all the items we need to have in place,” said Gibson, mentioning some of the existing library shelves are not earthquake-proof so new bases have to be made and additional shelving will be required. “It’s a huge job to move everything over there, for the historical society as well.”
For now, all parties are basking in the fact that the Riverfront Centre will actually be a new feature in the city this time next fall.
“This is a brand new concept so that, in itself, we had to get our heads around how this is going to work,” Gibson shared. “On the whole it was a very collaborative process, this design of integrating the library and museum together – I must say, it is cutting edge.”
Following the award of the contract during the governance meeting, Coun. Lisa Pasin pointed out that of the five submitted bids, none were local.
“Someone came into my work today completely wired for sound,” Pasin continued. “Because the talk in town (was), here goes Trail again, accepting a tender from a corporation to do a build that isn’t from Trail,” she added. “Like we neglected to accept a bid from an organization in Trail.
“I am saying this to make it very clear that of the five bids that met all the criteria on the day of tender, there was no local bid provided – so the city is not excluding local businesses, there were no local bids provided.”
Although there were no bids from Trail, there were local companies that provided bids for subcontract work within the submitted tenders.
“There will be considerable local content, mostly likely, within the project in terms of all the various jobs and subcontract (work) that needs to be done,” Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff concluded. “So we would anticipate that there will be considerable local benefit because of that.”