The Canada Winter Games is still looking for a security force.
Three security companies submitted proposals, following a September tender, but all were over budget, said Games general manager Chris Morrissey on Thursday.
“We are not accepting any due to budget constraints,” Morrissey added.
“We are still working on our options.”
Morrissey did not want to say what these options are until the Games makes a final decision.
“We are hoping to have our security plan in place close after the New Year,” he said.
But this may be too late, said Showtime Security owner Don McKenzie, who submitted one of the proposals.
On Thursday, McKenzie received a letter from the Games, dated December 8th, stating all proposals were over budget and the Games was considering other options.
“They only have 71 days left,” said McKenzie, who was frustrated he’d not been notified earlier.
“I put my bid in when the grass was green and there were leaves on the trees,” he said.
In October, McKenzie received two calls from Games RCMP security co-ordinator John Sutherland suggesting all the bids were too high.
But he didn’t receive any official notice until Thursday.
“It’s been multiple months,” said McKenzie.
Setting up a security force will take a tremendous amount of effort and planning, he added.
All security personnel need to be bonded and have Canadian Security Intelligence Service scans, which can take months, said McKenzie.
“And it’s astounding to still not have done this only 71 days out.”
The Games wants a reputable security firm for a variety of different functions, including overnight security and roving security, said Morrissey.
Volunteers will also be doing security, he said, noting that 1,000 have already completed their criminal record checks.
“I don’t think we’ll find volunteers for overnight security,” added Morrissey.
Although he didn’t discuss all Games security options, Morrissey did touch on several possibilities.
“We can potentially go to the RCMP and see if they can do some coverage for us,” he said.
The Games might re-tender it, added Morrissey.
“Or we can go back to Atco Frontenac.
“They’re supplying us with security for the (athletes’) village and there may be an opportunity to work with them through another sponsorship arrangement to do some other security.”
In October, while waiting to hear about his bid, McKenzie saw an ad in the newspaper: Atco Frontenac was looking for 12 guards to work at the athletes’ village during the Games.
“They sole-sourced that contract,” said McKenzie.
“They gave it to the same guys who screwed up the athletes’ village.”
But if a company, like Atco, agrees to some level of sponsorship, it’s not sole sourcing, said Morrissey.
It’s an opportunity, through sponsorship arrangements, to get services, he said.
The Commissionaires Canada also bid on the Games security tender.
Regional manager Niall Sheridan was still waiting to hear from the host society as of Thursday.
He hadn’t received a letter yet.
“We have everything in place,” he said on Thursday.
He’d heard there was a budget problem, but Sheridan was still hopeful.
“We have people on standby,” he said.
But Morrissey confirmed all three security bids were being turned down.
“None of the tenders are being accepted because they’re all over budget,” he said.
“I’ve been mandated to make sure these Games are on budget and on time. So, I’m doing the responsible thing, which is not awarding contracts where I don’t have budget.”