Clearview given new library construction deadline
Connie Leishman, chair of the Stayner library building project committee, says work has resumed and, as far as they know, contractors have been paid, meaning the project is back on track.
The building project went off the rails, so to speak, when financial problems thrust Bondfield Construction Company into the national spotlight and resulted in the loss of larger contracts, also causing delays at the Stayner building site, where a new library is being built as an addition to the arena.
Leishman updated Clearview council on the delays and the updated construction schedule at a Nov. 19 meeting, saying she prefaced her update with an apology for not having communicated to council earlier.
Leishman said she was cautious about saying too much publicly before knowing more, so she decided to stay mum while the municipality worked with Bondfield to get them back on track with the library project.
“We were getting nervous about the thing – that maybe they weren’t going to come back and nothing was going to happen and then we’d have to go to some kind of legal action, which isn’t something we wanted to do only because it’s very painful, very expensive, and it takes forever to get through that kind of process,” said Leishman. “So we sat patiently and watched, and they communicated with us quite often.”
Uncertainty around steel tariffs caused further problems but eventually, after assurances that they were following through on the project, a new construction schedule was provided.
“We’re a very small project so their bigger projects were their priority and I understand that but being a municipal project, we are in the public eye so things had to happen. It got a little dicey and we were quite nervous about the whole thing but it did come together and we do have a schedule. I can’t say I’m not still nervous about it, because I am but everyday something happens there,” said Leishman.
“They lost some of their bigger contracts so now they have time for us, which is okay. They didn’t go out of business and the bond company came to their rescue and assured us they would be paying all the bills.”
She said in the end, the project is back on track. The township has been assured that the arena’s community hall will be accessible by March and that the new library will be complete by the end of September.
Leishman said the project is still within budget, despite a delay of about two-and-a-half months. (The construction of the 7,000 square foot Stayner library branch was approved at a cost of $3,807,892.)
Leishman said she drew on her experience as a trustee for the Simcoe County District School Board. At the beginning of her term, she said the company hired to build the high school in Stayner went bankrupt and it went into litigation, something she wanted to avoid this time around.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a municipal project go smoothly in my life,” she said.