“Four tries and two years late”.
That’s how Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley summarized the announcement that the boat ramps at Centennial Park are open in time for the annual Bluewater Anglers Salmon Derby and summer boating season.
“I’m pleased for the boaters but not the voters,” says Bradley who has watched as cost over runs at the remediated park have ballooned to what City Hall administration says is $13.4 million.
But both he and David Boushy believe the final cost will be substantially more.
In fact, Bradley predicts the park with its Suncor Agora and boat ramps will end up costing Sarnia taxpayers more than $15 million.
There was indication of that in an email string between Chief Administrative Officer Margaret Misek-Evans and Finance Director Lisa Armstrong.
Asked by First Monday about the cost of the ramps Armstrong responded with $682.000.00 for the boat launch which includes floating and fixed wharfs, ramp, sidewalks and associated parking lot. She added that costs for the boat ramp cannot be isolated “based on the structure of the contract”. Total cost of the Centennial project is $13.46 million she said.
In Armstrong’s response Misek-Evans asks her Finance Director for a copy of what was sent to reporter Stephanie Chaves at CHOK Radio adding “whatever you prepared for CHOK can be used to respond to this inquiry.”
Bradley, who intends to ask for an audit of costs at Centennial suggest there is some “fluidity” in the numbers. “My concern is there hasn’t been any discipline here, there hasn’t been any accountability”.
Boushy agrees noting that the consultant, Golder and Associates was fired last fall and in October Council authorized $1 million for the boat ramps. “I remember that so well because I voted against it,” says Boushy. “Now, six months later City Hall is saying it came in at $682,000?”
Boushy asks “do you really think the company said I’m going to give you a break and take less money?”.
London – based contractor Bre - Ex Construction Inc. took over installation of the docks after Golder was dismissed.
Boushy says Golder “wasn’t doing a good job” and after trying to install the boat ramps three times Bre - Ex, the construction contractor took over.
When told the administration is sticking with the $13.46 million figure for remediation of Centennial Park Boushy responded “I actually thought they would be coming back for more money”.