Pool mistakes can’t happen again
Thursday, Jun 22, 2017 06:00 am
Coun. Jeff Toews didn’t pull any punches when he criticized project manager Tango at last week’s council meeting after further delays to the Jayman Built Aquatics Centre were announced.
Toews’ outburst is understandable considering he says the latest construction delays are due to missing materials to complete the facility.
Delaying a facility for three weeks due to a lack of a few handrails sounds completely absurd, but it points to a more systemic problem in the construction of the facility.
This is not the first problem the addition to the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre has encountered. Last October, council revealed the opening of the pool would be delayed and the project would surpass its budget by $3 million because of incomplete blueprints and poor site preparation.
One would expect that due diligence would be done when preparing to construct a public facility sucking up nearly $50 million in tax dollars.
Taxpayers should not be on the hook for the extra costs associated with a longer construction period and additional operating expenses to keep the Big Hill Leisure Pool going.
We can’t fault Toews for his anger and frustration. That being said, taxpayers deserve a full account of where the failures occurred and why they were not caught sooner.
Town administration and council must look at this situation and begin reviewing where things went wrong and what steps can be taken to prevent similar issues from being repeated in the future – passing the buck straight to the developer is not enough.
It is the town and council’s responsibility to safeguard the public purse and that has not happened for this project.
Taxpayers should not be at the mercy of ballooning infrastructure costs when projects are delayed, especially if that is due to problems that should never have happened, as Toews suggests.
While the town might not have been in a position to catch the errors – we suggest that should never be the case – that led to the cost overruns and delays, it should commit to a project review to see where things went wrong.
Following that review, policies or safeguards should be put into place to prevent similar problems and money wastage from happening in the future.
Just being mad is not going to cut it this time.