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ISL agreement with the town ends

Masha Scheele

A service contract between Hinton and ISL Engineering came to an end on June 26 and the town is not planning on renewing their agreement with ISL or signing a contract with any other company.

ISL will continue to complete the work that was already started but services for all new work will go out for proposals. 

The Town will be hiring engineering services on a project basis and working with those pre-qualified companies identified through the  request for proposal (RFP) process, stated Emily Olsen, Hinton communications and strategic advisor in an email on July 3. 

The original contract with ISL started on June 26, 2012 and lasted for five years with a clause to renew for a year. That renewal expired on June 26, 2018, after which the town explored a new agreement with ISL for 2018 until 2022.

The interim CAO in June 2018 made the decision to put the town’s engineering services out to tender through a full Engineering Services RFP process, which was completed this spring. The result of this process was that the Town of Hinton elected not to sign a standing offer agreement with any one specific firm. 

The RFP process entailed a creation and advertising of an RFP package, outlining the services sought, the level of experience required, and the factors that contribute to the ranking of proposals.  Proponents who responded to this RFP were short listed and asked to prepare an hour-long presentation to the RFP committee to showcase their level of service and any areas that set them apart from the other proponents, stated Olsen.

The town could enter into a standing offer agreement or a multi-year contract at the end of this process with the successful proponent, but opted not to move forward with any engineering firm.

Instead, a request for qualifications process (RFQ) was initiated with the intent of pre-qualifying a number of firms to contact with RFPs for project work. The RFQ process has currently been initiated.

Olsen previously stated that an internal engineering position is being considered as part of an ongoing review of the planning and development division.

The benefits of having an in-house engineer is that they could manage smaller tasks related to project preparation, oversight and decision-making, and could interpret and advise larger firms on the Town’s needs and expectations, stated Olsen.

“This position could provide support to many different areas of Town operations, including Planning and Development, Infrastructure Services, and Community Services,” stated Olsen.

Benefits to address day-to-day engineering functions are evaluated through further discussion within administration.

Since 2012, ISL has worked on numerous projects including the PATH building, Switzer Drive and Hardisty Lift Station, phase one and two of the water treatment plant, the asset management program, the Maxwell Lake pedestrian bridge, and the Intermunicipal Development Plan with Yellowhead County.

ISL has also worked with the Town on their Municipal Development plan, including the land use bylaw, west area structure plan, east area structure plan, and master documents for water, wastewater, stormwater, transportation, and parks.