Prediction: The cop shop headquarters will eventually cost $40 million

Posted July 10, 2014

After more than 180 days of investigation by both city and police administrative staffs, the same answer came up – the new police headquarters was still going to cost $34 million.

Quel Surprise! As reported in guelphspeaks.ca months ago, having the two staffs review the plans with a view of reducing the cost, proved to be a time-consuming, useless exercise. The Corporate Administration, Finance and Enterprise Committee voted to proceed with the project. Coun. Maggie Laidlaw and Coun. Gloria Kovach voted against recommending the staff report to council for final approval.

Eight years of our city being dominated by the Farbridge administration, can anyone recall a city construction project that was completed on budget and on time? One of the main problems is the dithering effect in which the staff must study projects to ensure they meet the stringent demands of council. Meeting demands and details bent on applying extreme environmental standards to most projects.

The dithering effect is one of the chief reasons that two consultants have said the same thing: Guelph is a bad place in which to do business.

Council had already approved the $34 million in two chunks. The first was in the 2013 capital budget allocating $13 million to renovate the police headquarters. That figure was generated and approved by the Guelph Police Services Board (GPSB).

Mayor Karen Farbridge and Coun. Leanne Piper sit on that board so you know where their vote is going to go.

Then last July along came Police Chief Larkin who presented a new figure for the work that now totaled $34 million.

The Farbridge dominated council knuckled under and approved the new costs, pending a staff review to reduce the $34 million cost. It didn’t help that the mayor told her council that they had to pass it or the GPSB could force them to approve it through legislation.

This seems to be a draconian way of doing business. Build it our way or else!

Do you sense that there is a conflict of interest here? How can the Mayor and her council sidekick Leanne Piper, also members of the GPSB, serve two masters?

Maybe it’s time to test that and tell the GPSB the city cannot afford to shell out the money due, in part, to the looming huge expense of the Urbacon costs settlement. You will recall that the city lost big-time over firing the new City Hall contractor in 2008. Those costs are yet to be determined and who pays what? You can bet it won’t be Urbacon.

This brings up the archaic Ontario Police Act controlling how police in Ontario are governed. The province appoints the majority of GPSB members with the exception of Mayor Farbridge and Coun. Piper.

Now, one would think that the council tag team of Farbridge and Piper would tell the board, that the city couldn’t afford that proposal. Or, maybe they didn’t know whether they could afford it, or not.

Just add this one to the growing list of gutless actions and mismanagement that has become the hallmark of the Farbridge administration.

It is the kind of action or lack thereof that spawned the citizen’s activist group, GrassRoots Guelph. Join today and be part of helping to change the way our city is being run, loosely speaking.

Sign up: Grassrootsguelph2014@gmail.com

Website: GrassRootsGuelph.com

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4 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

4 responses to “Prediction: The cop shop headquarters will eventually cost $40 million

  1. geo

    My wife ran into some post operative problems yesterday and the both of us spent the night in the General Hospital emergency ward. (everything is fine now thank you Guelph General) While we were sitting there doing the hurry up and wait because there were ambulances lined up out the door I recalled a time when Guelph’s population was less then half what it is now but we had two fully functioning hospitals. We are told this is not possible now because it is just too expensive and yet no one even bats an eyelash at the prospect of a $34,000,000 building renovation. That is a renovation, not a new building but a renovation!
    This mind set, this current group of people running the show in Guelph have got to go if it’s citizens ever want to see a return to a City that everyone can afford to live in

    • Geo: I hope everything went well despite the wait. Your point is well taken. I tremble at what the taxpayers of Guelph are facing next year, the year after that and the year after that. It cannot go on and we must collectively change the way our city is being managed. The end game will not be pleasant.

  2. geo

    Gerry: Maybe it is time to re-submit your request to the province to have Guelph’s books audited. Point out they are recommending a $34,000,000 building renovation because the roof leaks, all the while no one has a clue as to how much Urbacon is going to cost.

    • Geo: GrassRoots Guelph has submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman of Ontario to investigate the reasons behind the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s decision not to order an independent audit. This Minister left the government soon after her decision and is running for Mayor of Brampton. She made this decision despite her own officials confirming that the numbers and data in the GRG four-page petition were accurate. I have contended all along that this was a political decision aimed at helping fellow cabinet minister Liz Sandals in her re-election campaign. The last thing Ms. Sandals wanted was a provincial government audit of the city of Guelph’s finances in the middle of an election campaign. We now know the outcome of all this. Politicians 1, people 0.

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