Smithers council has awarded a contract to a Lower Mainland company, despite a local contractor putting in a bid for a similar amount.

At the Sept. 12 regular meeting of council, councillors went with the staff recommendation and awarded the GHG Emissions Reduction Pathway Study contract to Prism Engineering, out of Burnaby, in the amount of $124,470.

Also on the list of consultants who put in a bid was Bulkley Valley Engineering in the amount of $124,126.

Based on a six criteria evaluation matrix, town staff analyzed each proposal to determine its strengths and weaknesses in responding to the project scope and objectives identified in the request for proposals.

Councillor Laura Leonard questioned why staff recommended a company that wasn’t local when there was one available.

Director of Development Services Mark Allen said while there is a local purchasing policy for supplies and construction contracts, it is different when it comes to hiring consultants.

“You factor in the different team that they’re putting together,” he explained. “That was the largest weight, is the team that the proponent is pulling together and fulfilling the requirements.”

Staff wrote in a report that they recommended Prism Engineering because the company scored high in the Experience and Past Performance criteria. They have completed projects under the FCM GMF guidelines for other cities in the province and have provided application support for the City of Richmond, City of Port Moody and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

They have also previously completed an Energy Study for the Smithers’ Civic Centre which led to the arena lighting upgrades and has informed the ongoing ice plant upgrades.

The study will identify deep energy retrofit opportunities for existing Town buildings, with consideration of the current operations, energy profile and asset management schedule and budget that will be required for effective decision-making toward emissions reduction targets.

The data collected throughout this study will support future capital grant applications, as these incentives often require the emissions reduction potential for the proposed upgrades, retrofits or replacements.

Council also supported the final application to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund (FCM GMF) for the Town of Smithers’ Community Building Retrofit GHG Emissions Reduction Pathway Feasibility Study for 80 per cent of eligible costs up to $200,000.