Parks and rec committee members differ on park patrol process

Dave Stewart
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Charlottetown city councillor David MacDonald speaks during a recent city council meeting.

Charlottetown is going to pay a private security firm more than $40,000 to patrol its parks but those who sit on the parks and recreation committee aren’t seeing eye to eye on the process.

Coun. Melissa Hilton, chairwoman of parks and recreation, presented a resolution at Monday’s regular public monthly meeting to accept a bid from Atlantic Private Protection Services (APPS) for $40,052 to patrol all the parks in the city this year to curb loitering and vandalism.

That resolution passed 8-2 with Councillors David MacDonald and Mitchell Tweel voting against it. What’s so odd about that? MacDonald is the vice-chair of parks and recreation. Tweel also sits on that same committee.

MacDonald said he has no issue with APPS but he does have problems with the fact that when the bids came in, the company that made the other bid for the committee to consider supplied more information than APPS did.

Councillors told The Guardian all they had to go on from APPS was the quoted price.

While the city often accepts the lowest bid, it does not have to. In this case, APPS was going to charge the city $1,500 less than the competing bid.

“I voted against it because the committee recommendation was something different than what was presented here tonight. It’s very important, for instance in this particular case, that you have an automobile that’s marked so that you can drive around the park,’’ MacDonald said, in using one example to cite information his committee didn't get from APPS.

“We didn’t have enough information to be certain (that APPS was the better bid) so, as a committee, we felt the best recourse to go was go with the company that supplied us with enough information that we were sure could do the work.’’

MacDonald said the assumption was made that APPS was more than qualified to do the work.

The administrative services committee vetted the bids and recommended that council accept the APPS bid.

Tweel said this case shows there is “a disconnect’’ between the administrative services committee and parks and recreation.

“There was no information, just the total amount of the bid. I don’t know what admin services were hanging their hat on (or) what methodology they utilized,’’ Tweel said.

Villard said the situation has been blown out of proportion.

“Bottom line is one company provided more information than the other,’’ Coun. Cecil Villard, chairman of administrative services, told The Guardian. “But the fact is . . . both met the conditions. Tradition is we go with the lowest price.’’

Villard said he is aware of APPS’ work and that it is excellent and that the police department recommended APPS.

Hilton said APPS will begin patrols of Victoria Park and other parks in the city today.

“They go from park to park and make sure there is no vandalism (and) that there aren’t people in the park because there is a curfew with respect to all of our parks within the city,’’ Hilton said. “It’s a common time of the year with vandalism in our parks so we need to start our park patrol immediately.’’

Hilton said this is the fifth consecutive year that the city has contracted out park patrol services but the first time they’ve worked with APPS. She noted the Stratford firm is “well qualified, well certified’’.

APPS will patrol Victoria Park on foot as well as by marked car and that all parks will be monitored 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

 

 

Organizations: Atlantic Private Protection Services, The Guardian

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Victoria Park, Stratford

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Recent comments

  • Robin Hood
    May 14, 2014 - 21:41

    I think the two in council are misinformed. The facts don't support what they are publicly saying. The real BIG point here is that the Charlottetown Police recommended the APPS company.

  • Richard
    May 13, 2014 - 14:46

    Well said, the last few years security was a pathetic disgrace. The workers were very unprofessional. The young men would sit in the woods on their phones. There was a young man and an older man working together that were very unprofessional, numerous times I would see them hanging around the playground with young woman and children also hanging around parked vehicles talking to owners for extended periods, rather than paroling I hope APPS will do a much better job NPSS.

    • D. Macswain
      May 14, 2014 - 22:32

      Speaking as a soon to be guard for NPSS, The actions of a couple guards aren't a reflection of a whole company. NPSS has become aware of this over the past year and have gone through some major changes since last summer. They've been cracking down on guards not doing their jobs and have been a bit more strict with the the people they're hiring. That aside, I think it's a good thing for another company to take the parks this year seeing as NPSS will be busy with the rest of the 2014 celebrations.

    • Reality Cheque
      May 15, 2014 - 08:51

      D. MacSwain: It's nice to see you speak highly of your new employer but your admitting that their services were inadequate in the past speaks volumes. It's nice to see you will be busy with one of the many shows on PEI but I suspect NPSS got that because they were cheap, not qualified. One company does shows on PEI and they are by far the best in the Maritimes. Go to any other show in the region and you will see why.

  • Good for MacDonald and Tweel
    May 13, 2014 - 08:55

    Just Google Atlantic Private Protection Services and see what pops up. Not much. They can't even supply basic information about their company - history, client testimonials, etc. Not only wasn't there due process, what was the due diligence on the quality of service this company offers? Good for MacDonald and Tweel for asking questions.

    • Not Good
      May 14, 2014 - 21:32

      I think you are dead wrong and just feeding the silliness offered by the two counsellor a who seem to be more interested in the old security company. The information on the process is all online. There was an RFP and the city asked for specific details. To win the bidder had to supply those details and that included certifications etc. It's all spelled out. The winner was simply the more qualified company. "Good for", you sound a lot like a sore loser than someone who was truly interested in process.

  • Rob
    May 13, 2014 - 07:08

    I play ball and last years lot in those yellow shirts barely had a pulse. They sat more than they moved. They also do where the wife parks her car on pownal. It's obvious they bid cheap for stuff cause the people I see in their uniforms are obviously untrained and just don't care.

  • Surprised
    May 13, 2014 - 06:35

    I am surprised that any firm can provide 24 hr a day ,7 day a week security to all the parks(not sure how many parks that is) for such a small amount.

  • Rick
    May 12, 2014 - 21:25

    Have you seen what security was in the past years?? They didn't have the first clue about what they were doing!! I'd like to be able to play tennis without worrying about seeing people cruise in a public place with kids around.