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City seeks to sweep away troubled street cleaning contract

By: Darren MacDonald - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Mar 14, 2014 - 11:27 AM |
After three complaint-filled years with a U.S.-based company, the city has three bidders seeking the spring street-cleaning contract. File photo.

After three complaint-filled years with a U.S.-based company, the city has three bidders seeking the spring street-cleaning contract. File photo.

After three tough years, new firms bidding for the work

After three difficult years, the city is looking make sweeping changes to its annual spring street cleaning program.

Three companies submitted bids for the three-year contract for the work by the Feb. 13 closing date. Those submissions – ranging from $374,755 to $473,970 – are substantially higher than the $189,320 winning bid submitted by the DeAngelo Brothers in 2011, a U.S. company that works out of Orangeville, Ont. The firm didn't bid on the new contract.

The DeAngelo Brothers struggled each year to finish the work on time, requiring help from city staff in at least the first two years. Under terms of the 2011 contract, the winning bidder was required to clean 616 kilometres of city streets within 15 working days, or three weeks. However, a 2011 staff report said that numerous complaints had been received about dust storms created during cleaning, the “poor quality” of the sweeping and the length of time it took to complete the contract.

Staff also said they believe that the contractor “arrived in the city with insufficient equipment to complete the contract within the designated timeline.”

The problems generated several complaints, prompting anger on the part of city council. Ward 8 Coun. Fabio Belli said in 2011 the sweeping kicked up such a dust storm in some areas, residents were asking him if the city would pay to have their windows cleaned.

“I honestly believe my two- or three-year-old could do a better job than the services that we're getting from this company right now,” he said at the time. “I'm very disappointed.”

Things improved in 2012, but problems persisted. While the quality of work improved, it was still a slow process. Ward 2 Coun. Jacques Barbeau, chair of the city's operations committee, said in 2012 the problems weren't going away.

“It's not so much the quality this year, as it was the time it took to complete the work, as well as complaints we received from the public,” Barbeau said. “Our own staff, who look after some of the residential rural areas, did an absolutely terrific job. But they had to come in and help the contractor.”

By last year, it was clear the contract would be put out to tender again, rather than being renewed for the optional two more years. The city’s annual budget for spring cleanup is around $850,000, which includes street-sweeping operations. Street cleaning normally begins in April, weather permitting, with the goal of being finished by the long weekend in May. 
Darren MacDonald

Darren MacDonald

Staff Writer


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