The first red flag on the Post Office-as-Police HQ boondoggle --four years ago!
Here, for example, is the very, very first red flag raised about the disastrous plan to buy and remodel the old downtown post office building into a brand spanking new police headquarters.
It bears reprinting in its entirety.
In 2010, the post offfice project was expected to cost $168 million, of which $5.3 Million was for initial design work by AECOM Canada.
Read it and weep.
Councillor livid firm gets $10M despite errors
Design trouble boosted projects' costs
By: Bartley Kives
The newest member of Mayor Sam Katz's inner circle is fuming that a private engineering firm blamed for design errors at two Winnipeg sewage-treatment plants received more than $10 million in consulting payments from the city last year.
City council infrastructure-renewal boss Mike O'Shaughnessy, who rejoined executive policy committee on Wednesday, lashed out at senior city officials after receiving a report showing Earth Tech Canada received almost $10.1 million from the city in 2008.
Since 2007, the city has been negotiating with Earth Tech Canada -- now AECOM Canada -- to recover some of the costs of overruns at the West End Water Pollution Control Centre, where upgrades estimated to cost $26 million were adjusted upwards in stages to $47 million.
At the time, a confidential water and waste department report blamed $12 million of the cost increases partly on "design errors, incomplete design and design clarification" that forced engineers to redraw plans for a heating and ventilation system and a chemical-addition system at the plant.
The city and AECOM are still trying to work out what portion of the cost overruns will be borne by either party, as the city may have contributed to the errors by changing contracts, said Mike Shkolny, water and waste department engineering manager.
But at the first EPC meeting following the summer break, councillors revealed the same firm assumed responsibility for a separate error at a North End Water Pollution Control Centre upgrade project.
The second error involved the incorrect placement of a concrete support column, which prevented a piece of machinery known as a decanter from moving inside a nitrogen-removal facility, Shkolny said. This incident was only reported verbally to city councillors behind closed doors, Shkolny said, because the city was concerned media attention could jeopardize potential litigation.
No legal action was ever pursued. The firm remedied the situation by paying for the studies, scaffolding and cranes required to remove a piece of superfluous skimming equipment from the decanter, thus allowing the facility to work, Shkolny said.
"Earth Tech absorbed it all," said Shkolny, pegging the cost of the second error at about $50,000.
A spokeswoman for AECOM Canada did not return calls Wednesday.
Nevertheless, Old Kildonan Coun. O'Shaughnessy, who ordered a city investigation into the West End cost overruns two years ago, grilled Winnipeg chief administrative officer Glen Laubenstein and chief financial officer Mike Ruta for the fact Winnipeg continues to sole-source contracts worth up to $500,000 to engineering firms as part of the $34.8 million worth of payments to consultants made in 2008.
"Five-hundred-thousand dollars without a tender is a sin; $100,000 without a tender is a sin," said O'Shaughnessy.
St. Norbert Coun.Swandel, the finance chairman, added his concern that sole-source consulting contracts seem to be the norm and not the exception.
Laubenstein said the city is seeking to reduce the number of consultants it employs. But in 2008, consulting payments rose to $34.8 million from $29.9 million in firstname.lastname@example.org
City councillors in a stink over cost increases and design errors at two city sewage-treatment plants
The West End plant
The North End plant