Posted March 27, 2013
Testimony this week by city engineer Murray McCrae, at the trial concerning the termination of city hall contractor Urbacon Building Group, reveals that in September 2008, the police were called to remove the builder from the site.
Police cited that Urbacon staff were trespassing and ordered them off the site. Contractor staff hurriedly tossed personal property and documents over an eight-foot fence. Police refused to allow them to return to the site to recover such materials.
That’s one way the Farbridge administration enforced its decision to fire the contractor before completion of the project. The administration was decisive and determined.
Now, let’s move back to summer 2009 when assorted urban terrorists occupied the city-owned Hanlon business park that was under construction. The contractor evacuated the site leaving heavy equipment behind.
The occupiers thumbed their nose at the city and police who stood by and did not force them off city property. They built a campsite including a watchtower to spot intruders. When the park was officially opened with bused-in dignitaries, the masked terrorists cursed and spat and rocked the bus, while police videotaped the melee but made no arrests.
If there ever was a case of trespassing, the Hanlon was it.
But city council, with its Farbridge majority, refused to act. Indeed, former Coun. Mike Salisbury met with the occupiers and offered support of their cause to save the property from destruction of the rare Jefferson salamander. The Ministry of Natural Resources determined the premise to be false. As a footnote: Salisbury was not re-elected in 2010.
And what did that exercise, the failure to enforce the law of trespass, cost taxpayers?
More than $1 million because the project was delayed for a year, the park to this day has only two occupants. The city’s investment is more than $10 million to prepare the site for commercial and industrial development.
These are examples of two unnecessary costs to the taxpayers that city council has bungled. They failed to exploit a project that would bring assessment and jobs to the community.