When the pier retender went to market in July it became a public document, allowing anyone to review the new specifications and compare them to the original design. The original contractor, HSS, did so, and released a public statement outlining numerous changes which they say they originally requested after problems arose on the project in 2008. (Read news article here).
Because of litigation with HSS and the original design engineer AECOM, the city has yet to release a formal response, beyond brief comments made to the press. (Read news article here). The last public statements made by the city are that the pier is buildable as is (Read article here).
At my request, council and the public now receive updates on the pier every three weeks at every Community Services Committee. The next one is Aug. 31, 6:30pm at City Hall.
My take: Residents deserve transparency and accountability, through proactive communications from City Hall, not secondhand information. That’s best practise and good governance. I’ve asked our legal and communications staff to advise what can be shared with residents on the retender specifications without compromising our legal case – especially given that the new specifications are public.
I’ve also asked engineering staff whether the new specifications were originally requested, and if done in 2008 would have restarted this project, saving time and taxpayers’ money. As a best practise, we must always be looking to find win-win solutions, as we did with Bermingham on the trestle dispute.
Now that we are on the litigation path with HSS, AECOM and others originally involved in the pier, there will be winners and there will be losers – the courts will determine who’s who. We’ve lost the opportunity to negotiate a win-win, and that’s disappointing for everyone involved in this project.