(ESSEX, ON) – At the Essex Town Council meeting on Monday, Councilor Randy Voakes was upset to learn a pavilion planned for a park adjacent to the historic railway station will not have washroom facilities. Voakes told Council he thought the lowest tender, of $319,000, would include a washroom, but was verbally accosted by a taxpayer, while at a local coffee shop, who brought the matter of no facility to his attention.
After confirming the situation with Administration, Voakes questioned the Essex tender process and wondered how the town could, “stop people from gouging us.” Washrooms, the irate councilor was told, could cost up to $250,000 more. An incredible sum in Voakes’ mind.
He took to offering council his estimates of some of the costs and noted that the town could buy two urinals for only $89 apiece.
To him the pavilion is little more than, “ten sticks and a roof.”
Councilor Ron Rogers, a newly-elected member, described the pavilion’s cost as exorbitant, particularly, “when you can build a house for $300,000 with everything in.”
To solve the problem, Voakes would like Council to add another element to the selection process in which bids are reviewed by an external consultant. He assumed a plumber could be hired for $500 to provide some assurance on the accuracy of the washroom estimate.
Councilor Sherry Bondy assured her fellow councilors that the washroom would be a necessity, especially for families.
Although Jeffery Morrison, the Essex Director of Finance and Business Services, offered to prepare a report on current practices, Voakes withdrew a motion and requested that the matter be discussed at Council’s next meeting.
Windsor, on the other hand, is going forward with a plan to install two washrooms at two city parks for about $400,000 each. No Windsor councilor questioned the expenditure.