This past week, Council addressed the ongoing issue of the Skate board park over at the AFLC.. Anyone that has followed the issue of the renovations and upgrades that started during the end of the 2010-2014 term and finished at the beginning of last term are fully aware that there were some serious issues with the construction of that facility. The project was not only delayed but there were multiple deficiencies and attendant legal issues as a consequence.
The Skateboard park was, unfortunately, part of a mismanaged project. Last term, we – Council and staff – worked hard to ensure that this type of project mismanagement would not happen again. First, I brought forward a motion to ensure that, moving forward, Liquidated damages (penalty clause) are part of every contract. This is to ensure that there are penalties should a contractor not fulfill the contract. Second, our new CAO was brought on board and organizational changes to ensure that future projects would not face the same management issues. As part of the organizational changes, our new Director of Finance will be looking to make some changes to our procurement processes as awarding contracts to the lowest bidder is not always the most cost effective way to do it. Third we set a policy to have a project manager in place for all future capital projects.
Does this mean that there will never be an issue with a future project? No. Unforeseen issues can and do arise in any project.. However, we – Council and staff – have put measures in place to limit the Town’s – and taxpayers’ – exposure to the risks that come from the deficiencies that arise due to mismanaged projects.
So the bigger question then is, where does that leave the skate park?? Well the issues with the skate park began with a few concrete cracks (nothing serious). These cracks were identified and attended to. What no one knew about was what lay beneath the surface.. After repeated attempts to fix the cracks, staff realized it was more than just expansion and contraction cracks. A hydrological test was done and it was found that the sub flooring, gravel and prep work before the pouring was done was not done properly or missing altogether.
Now the Town is facing $600 K in costs to fix the Skateboard park! I think I can speak for everyone when I say we are all very angry about the current situation. Council has asked the Town solicitor to look into what if anything can be done to recover our costs.
So what are our options moving forward?? Well we have two options – repair a Town amenity that is highly used by residents or we could shut it down and not move forward in providing this service for our residents.
My choice is to move forward with providing this in demand service, proceed to take whatever steps possible to recover costs incurred and know that moving forward we have processes in place to mitigate the impacts of any future occurrences. .
Every member of Council works to ensure that taxpayer money is spent responsibly. We are building on the hard work of our previous council that put a number of measures in place to to make sure that projects did not take a turn for the worse like the AFLC.
I believe that it isn’t enough to simply say you’re “looking out for the taxpayer’s money”, frankly every politician will tell you that. But if you don’t have anything to offer by way of a solution? Then it’s just talk and just talking about it, won’t get things done. That is why this Council is moving forward with new policies and new organizational changes to ensure that taxpayer money is well looked after.
Council was provided with all the information needed to make a decision. And as I said, the option at this point was simple… Repair the park or close it down. … The vote to repair the Skateboard park and continue to provide this high, in-demand service for our youth was 5-1 with Councillor Gallo opposed. This vote will be ratified at Council this week.