PEI

Charlottetown company wants city hall to give contract preference to local businesses

A Charlottetown business owner says he's frustrated that the city decided to award a tender for a pest control contract to a company based off-Island. 

City says lowest bid got the contract

Robert Gallant of Atlantic Graduate Pest Management in Charlottetown says the city should do more to support local businesses. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

A Charlottetown business owner says he's frustrated that the city decided to award a tender for a pest control contract to a company based off-Island. 

Robert Gallant owns Atlantic Graduate Pest Management, which has had a contract with the City of Charlottetown to remove pests, like raccoons and skunks from city homes, for more than 25 years. 

This year, the tender was awarded to Rentokil.

The city uses several criteria — such as hours of operation, number of staff, and trapping and disposal methods — when selecting a successful bidder for a tender but being local isn't one of them. 

"For a hundred and some dollars a month, you are going to kick us to the curbside and take on an off-Island company," said Gallant. 

City chose best price

The two companies had a similar number of points, but Rentokil scored higher overall because of its price. Gallant thinks more weight should've been placed on having an Island presence.

"They are not local, we're local. We have more manpower, they don't. So I believe we should have been awarded more points based on that which in return would have given us more points and would have overseen us winning it even though we were a little bit higher."

Terry MacLeod, chair of the city’s public works committee, says he supports buying local, but in the end Rentokil had the best price. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

City council voted 8-1 to award the tender to Rentokil. While he didn't have a vote in the matter, the city's CAO, Peter Kelly, declared a conflict of interest and left the council meeting before that vote took place. Kelly is involved with a Nova Scotia pest control company which is in the process of being sold to Rentokil

The three-year contract with the city is worth $29,151 or $9,717 annually.

Gallant said his company's bid was $11,940, or $2,223 more a year. He said his company removes up to 650 animals a season from city homes, buildings and yards.

Terry MacLeod, chair of the city's public works committee, said he supports buying local, but in the end Rentokil had the best price.

"Atlantic Graduate has had the tender for a lot of years, but that doesn't mean that they should get it every year," said MacLeod. 

"Everyone gets upset sometimes when you don't win something, or lose something, just for the residents of Charlottetown to know that we're doing the best we can, trying to keep costs down but provide a really good service." 

A spokesperson with Rentokil, who manages operations for New Brunswick and P.E.I., told CBC News he couldn't comment but did confirm the company has one employee based on the Island.

Alanna Jankov was the only councillor to vote against giving the contract to Rentokil. 

Alanna Jankov, the only councillor to vote against giving the contract to Rentokil, is worried about the level of service the new company will provide. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

"Although they have an Island presence, they just have a representation of one person so I was concerned that the residents would not have their service provided as well as it had been in the past," said Jankov. 

The city says Rentoki is scheduled to start work on Monday.

Atlantic Graduate did win a separate contract with the city, for pest management of city-owned buildings. That contract is worth about a third of the residential pest removal contract, $3,231 annually.   

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wayne Thibodeau

Prince Edward Island

Wayne Thibodeau is a reporter/editor with CBC Prince Edward Island. He has worked as a reporter, editor, photographer and video journalist in print, digital and TV for more than 20 years. He can be reached at Wayne.Thibodeau@CBC.ca

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