Garden's overrun still front and centre at councilTuesday, February 04, 2014 by: Jamie Lyle
Monday evening saw a very long council meeting that had a lot of presentations, along with one major ongoing issue.
First, council saw residents present their concerns that a 4-way stop was desperately needed at Main Street West and Nipissing Street, a motion which council then passed.
The high rates of speed and the difficulty for pedestrians to cross the area, even in non-peak times, was highlighted by the numerous citizens who made their case for traffic safety improvements.
Jake Lacourse also made a presentation as Co-chair of Hospitality Organization (Strengthening Tourism in North Bay and District), and spoke of the successes that the local hotels and restaurants are finding and catering to, as the city spearheads its current plan to market North Bay as a Sports Tourism destination.
The ONTC again made a presentation that they were continuous in their struggles with the provincial government and the frustrating bureaucratic process with trying to get to the bargaining table.
CAW representative Brian Kelly relayed his concerns to council, with a reply letter resulting in his latest attempt at mediation, and stated that the people who they thought had some control have revealed that they actually have no authority from their superiors to speak upon the matter.
Aside from the issues, the bulk of the evening was spent discussing amongst councillors their unique points of view of being blindsided by a city staff member with regards to the Gardens 3.6 million dollars cost overrun.
In light of what has transpired, most of the items of consideration that are contained in the KMPG audit report were adopted by council.
Councillor Sarah Campbell wanted council to consider prohibiting the use of a construction management for future capital projects so as to avoid the risk of significant cost escalations, in favour of a stipulated-sum approach, which requires all city projects to have architectural drawings and budget costs completed, instead of going with a 'conceptual budget' which got the Gardens' project into trouble.
Interesting, most of council voted this down, saying that, with as many as 36 numerous city projects well that are over the 2 million dollar cap, some have benefited from using the construction management approach.
An internal report generated by Jerry Knox was also given to council for consideration.
Knox's report was presented to council in-camera, meaning that its contents are not available to the public and, due to the fact that it had issues with an Identifiable individual and potential litigation matters, council would only discuss it outside the media's contacts.
In a first, council re-entered the chambers at 11 pm and changed an existing by-law so that they could continue the in-camera session indefinitely.
As of 12:30 am, council was still adjourned in-camera.
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