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Brockville city council looks to learn from the recent past

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Brockville tunnel restoration leads to 2.1 million dollars deficit – Feb 19, 2019

The city of Brockville is looking to learn from its recent past.

A 2016-2017 project to restore the city’s historic railway tunnel, which was built between 1854 and 1860 under Brockville’s downtown core, ran well over budget.

Now, in a bid to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again, council will vote on a series of measures aimed at tightening-up policies and procedures to prevent a repeat of the tunnel incident.

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The vote is expected to happen at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

A forensic audit done last year showed that the tunnel project, which began in the fall of 2016 and was completed in August 2017, was $2.1 million over budget, and, according to Jason Baker, mayor of Brockville, it happened for a number of reasons.

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“It was really just the communication and everything was done to meet a deadline in order to not lose upper tier funding that we had,” Baker said. “So it was a timed opening to go with the Canadian federal celebration. They made some decisions in order to speed up to meet that deadline.”

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One of the main issues, Baker said, was that “the mortar that they had anticipated being able to use inside the tunnel just wasn’t adequate.”

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In the wake of the audit findings, the city has issued a debenture totalling just under $2.75 million, which includes the tunnel deficit and some other capital works projects.

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Baker says council is now looking to learn from this situation.

“We’re holding our hands up and saying city council did not get this right and we’re going to make sure all future councils have the ability to make sure they’re following their own procedures moving forward,” the mayor said.

Baker says now it’s a case of tightening-up policies and procedures to make sure the lessons learned will apply to future projects. The tunnel will open for another season on March 31.

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