Ottawa Snow Clearing Tender

Ottawa Snow Clearing Tender
Posted on August 14, 2013 | Ray Gompf | Written on August 14, 2013
Letter type:

Dear Ottawa residents,

The Watson Era Braintrust of politicians and civil servants have made yet one more asinine move to annoy tax payers and allow outsiders to do work that could and should be done by those within the City at the expense of those same taxpayers and is expecting an happy electorate.

I speak of course of the move to “tender out” snow removal to the lowest possible tender.

In the past, the city negotiated a fair price with the taxpaying local truckers within the city to remove the snow from our streets. There was one agreed price and all the local truckers who were covered by the agreement shared the duties on a rotational basis making it fair to all those local truckers who wanted to help in the clean up. Of course, this process shut out those from other close by municipalities that weren’t paying taxes in Ottawa.

Now the city, in an arbitrary move, has decided that tendering to one and all will save them millions of dollars. So now each individual local in city taxpaying trucker will have to individually submit a bid and hope for the best. But so will truckers from Montreal, Toronto, and anyone who thinks they can provide the service from wherever they may be. So now each of those tenders has to be evaluated, assessed and recorded in order of the bid, then the work will be parceled out based on the a threshold, and every bidder with a bid lower than the threshold will be on the list and those are the ones to be working, regardless of whether or not they are taxpaying citizens of this city and more than likely they won’t be. Oh sure, some of the local city truckers will bid low enough to get some work but the fairness has been tossed out the window in favour of the optics of the bidding processes against the optics of the negotiated price.

Buying cheap to save money is like stopping the clock to save time. The truth is the city won’t save one single nickel and will alienate yet one more demographic, small though it may be.

While the optics might look good and can be politically spun to infer fairness and openness, the truth of the matter is that solid taxpaying citizens of this city are being shut out of the process and that is unconscionable. The true cost of operating a truck in the city of Ottawa is very close to $100 an hour and the city for snow removal has been paying around $80 an hour, so it’s clear those local truckers were operating at a loss for snow removal in order to keep people off employment benefits over the winter. Now with the tendering process, the price will be the same $80 an hour but those who aren’t paying taxes to the city will have the ability to be part of the snow clearing budget having never contributed one penny to the city coffers. Now that’s fair and open? I don’t think so.

The negotiated process actually was the deal that saved money. There were but a few knowledgeable people on both side of the issue and they agreed on a price that both parties could accept. It certainly wasn’t allowing any gouging of tax dollars. It was simply recognizing that “we have the resources within our city” to cope with the harsh realities of winter in the northern climes. It provided for pay for performed service, not one wasted dollar among the entire budget.

This tendering business has people with no knowledge of the business of trucking accessing a process with no concept of the true costs of providing the service. In this case, the tendering process is a sham designed specifically to ensure the optics of providing service look good on the politician and to hell with the betterment of the community.

About The Author

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Ray Gompf was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1943 into a family that has been in Canada since the 1780’s. Ray was educated in Dunnville and Hamilton, Ontario. He entered the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps in 1961... More