April 5, 2015 7:22 pm
Updated: April 5, 2015 8:06 pm

Alberta NDP says government ‘wasted’ $1.5M on P3 funding model for schools

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WATCH ABOVE: The idea of a public private partnership to build schools was widely panned by critics. Now, the NDP says Albertans are on the hook for other expenses from the failed experiment. Eric Szeto reports. 

EDMONTON — The NDP says Albertans have been left to pay the price for more misspending by the Alberta Progressive Conservatives.

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In a media conference Sunday, NDP MLA Deron Bilous released documents that show the PCs spent nearly $1.5 million on advisory costs, including a $750,000 honorarium, on its abandoned P3 funding model for 19 Alberta schools.

“They spent $1.5 million and we’ve got nothing to show for it,” said Bilous. “Families are already frustrated that these desperately needed schools will be late, now on top of that we find out that Albertans will pay the price for this government’s irresponsible and reckless plan.”

Alberta Infrastructure says the honorarium went directly to the bidder for costs incurred in coming up with the project designs. Officials could not say Sunday who the bidder was in this case.

“Offering an honorarium is a standard practice in the industry. What it means is that we now own their submissions, we own the designs that they submitted to us,” said Dave Prisco, a spokesperson with Alberta Infrastructure.

“We’re better off for it because it allows us to move ahead with schools and we’re going to get them done on time.”

In June 2014, the government put an end to the idea of having 19 new schools built across Alberta under the public-private partnership funding model (P3). The government said scrapping the P3 model would save the province $14 million.

READ MORE: Alberta government scraps P3 funding model for new schools

According to the document, the government spent $350,850 on financial advisory services, $155,995 on cost modelling consultancy service, $133,434 on transaction advisory services and $75,600 on fairness auditor services.

Bilous said Sunday the NDP has long been against the P3 funding model, adding it has “failed miserably” in other communities across Canada.

The government says the 19 schools delayed by the dropped funding model are part of its plan to build or modernize more than 200 schools in Alberta.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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