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UPDATE October 1

I am pleased to advise that The Commissioner of public works was able to develop a plan much as I had proposed, to take 5 of the 10 major routes back in house this year, thus avoiding the outrageous cost proposed by the sole bidder on the original tender.

Two new trucks will be acquired, and other trucks refurbished.


Council approved this new plan on September 25





Council decision on major routes snow plowing tender – August 28


I attended Council Tuesday night and made a 3 minute deputation regarding this very expensive item in the County budget. Staff’s proposal would have increased our municipal taxes by approximately 4%!


Surprisingly, there were only 3 citizens in the audience!  In the lengthy discussion which followed, many councillors agreed with my views and the end result was to reject the Harrison Haulage bid and send staff back to the drawing board.  I have offered some additional solutions to the Commissioner. Let’s hope they come up with a solution that avoids the 4% tax increase that the Harrison bid would have created!


Council August 28, 2018  Agenda item 8.3 – Comments by John Hirsch


  • Staff’s report ends up recommending more than doubling the cost of snow plowing from $800k to $2.2M – per year – over 4% of the total County operational budget!

  • I have significant background in procurement, and, in particular, truck purchase and leasing, and am shocked at what I see in this staff report

  • I have many questions and I hope Council does too:

  • The tender result from the sole bidder was known to staff on July 18 –it was for more than triple the previous contract!

  • Was Council made aware, before this report came out just last week, of the seriousness of this issue?

  • Was there no pre-qualification done to ferret out potential bidders?

  • When only one quote was received, and that for triple the previous contract, was any consideration given to canceling the process and starting over with a pre-qualification?

  • These are some of the important questions I hope Councillors will ask


  • A little bit of basic research shows:

  • Snowplow/salter costs about $300k new.

  • So, at Harrison’s rates, even the reduced rates, the County will have effectively bought 10 trucks in only 2 years

  • Leasing them with a service contract could result in a much more effective cash flow situation in future

  • I think that the proposed 4 and 8 year contracts are unconscionable and would squander a huge amount of money that we don’t have

  • I would submit that in the circumstances the County should try to reach a one year contract and plan for taking this back in house for next year.

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