Concord, Ont.’s Jasper Construction was removed from two publicly-funded projects in Guelph and London this week.
On Tuesday, the City of Guelph announced it ended Jasper’s involvement with its $34 million police headquarters renovation project that was supposed to be completed in spring 2019.
The City of London then announced on Thursday that it had also ended Jasper’s work on a new community centre in the east end that costs $21 million.
A school board in Sarnia also recently terminated its contract with Jasper Construction for renovation and expansion of a local high school.
On Thursday, Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie issued a statement about the Guelph police headquarters, which also made reference to the projects in London and Sarnia.
“While the situation isn’t ideal, I see it as an important step for moving ahead and getting this project done, particularly in light of what I’ve seen reported by media with respect to the general contractor in other Ontario municipalities,” Guthrie stated.
The city said Jasper was found in default of their contract due to deficiencies with the work and will be working with a bonding agent to bring in new project management.
“We followed our contractual obligations to negotiate with the general contractor, to address the concerns around delays and deficiencies and we weren’t able to resolve to this point,” said Guelph’s deputy CAO Kealy Dedman.
The renovations are overbudget but by how much isn’t clear and Dedman said they won’t know until a new contractor is appointed.
“At that point in time, we’ll confirm what still needs to be done and if there are any impacts to the approved budget or the project schedule,” she said.
The project was funded through property taxes and development fees and Guthrie said the entire situation is unfortunate, but still defended city hall staff.
“I believe in our project management processes and our staff’s ability to make good decisions for our community,” he said.
On Friday, Guthrie used his Twitter account to retweet stories about Jasper’s removal from the projects in Sarnia and London and commented that it was “interesting.”
In London’s case, the city will be taking over the construction of the East Lions Community Centre after months of delays and reports that subcontractors were not getting paid.
The construction broke ground in October 2017 in East Lions Park on Churchill Avenue with an expected completion date of fall 2018.
Shawn Lewis is the city councillor where the project is located and said the project is about 85 per cent complete.
“I honestly wish this would’ve happened a bit sooner,” said Coun. Shawn Lewis. “This site has been plagued with nothing but problems since day one and they’re not all Jasper’s fault.”
He pointed to issues with the structural steel that had to be reordered, a plumbers’ strike and problems with the sheet metal supply.
But he added that’s no excuse for the lengthy delay.
“When you’re repeatedly not making dates on the deliverables and you’re not hitting the goals, well then there’s a problem there,” Lewis said.
Lewis, who lives across the street from the project, said he has heard firsthand that subcontractors weren’t even getting paid.
He said removing Jasper from the project will come at no extra cost to the taxpayers.
“We will be overseeing the subcontractors who will be doing the work,” Lewis said. “The cost is not going to inflate because Jasper is gone. That’s why there is insurance on these big projects.”
Global News has reached out to Jasper Construction for comment several times this week but has not heard back.