During Monday evening’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Smiths Falls, Director of Community Services Art Manhire met with town council to discuss the long-awaited construction of a gazebo-style bandshell in the town square. The town of Smiths Falls submitted a request for proposals to bidders earlier this year, and only one construction company – Brawn Construction – bid on the project, Director Manhire explained. However, due to increased pricing, lack of contractor availability, and the timeline of the funding grant, the original design would not be feasible, Manhire said.
A large portion of the funding for the bandshell, $100,000, was donated by the late Tom Foulkes, who had expressed a desire to see it resemble the bandshell in Elmira, Ont.
Brawn submitted a revised sketch of a bandshell that would cost $275,000 and better fit within the town’s budget, but Councilor Chris McGuire pointed out that the revised sketch would not serve the purpose of the original project.
Councilor Wendy Alford agreed, adding that the revised structure would be a “gazebo; a nice gazebo, but in order for it to be a bandstand, it would have to be higher. I honestly don’t think this is in keeping with what Mr. Foulkes donated the money for. I wouldn’t feel right okaying this design.”
Mayor Pankow expressed his disappointment as well. “Overall, I would not be in favour of the amended option. I think we all anticipated this [cost] would be significantly lower. I want to see a bandstand there. I don’t want to overpay for it. There’s a risk. I don’t know what we might see if we resubmit the tender this fall.”
Mayor Pankow also wondered if the specific materials listed in the tender are limiting the number of potential respondents.
Looking at the proposed costs, “I don’t see a bandshell in the cards for the next number of years,” commented Councilor Peter McKenna.
“Tommy’s going to be haunting me tonight, because he really had a passion for this,” said Councilor Jay Brennan, a former close friend of Foulkes. “But $275K for a bandstand seems like an enormous amount of money.”
Council decided not to award the tender, choosing instead to delay the project.