Working Up The Contractors Now
- “Job too big for local firms?
City companies fear border work will go to global consortium.”
Everything is being done to work up people on the border file, as has been the history for the last six years, so that the Senior Levels can get exactly what they want and who they want involved. Not only that, we will bless them for it!
Why do you think that Infrastructure Ontario came down here so that this story would be published a few days before the Minister of Finance was going to hold his pre-Budget meeting? We need to get the local yokels all worked up so that a couple of Editorials and a Henderson Column can be published before Dwight comes to town.
That would give our Mayor his chance to rant and rave in front of the Minister about the need for local jobs so that he could be our Saviour. That allows Eddie to back off from Greenlink gracefully as the focus shifts from his Greenlink road to jobs. After all, who will remember Greenlink after of these local jobs are created due to Eddie’s advocacy on behalf of the Windsor Contractors.
That ought to be worth a few campaign donations for Eddie’s run for a third term as Mayor and cut out Bill Marra as well. It also ends Eddie's Greenlink fantasy thank goodness. He can still pull out canals for dreaming to replace the Greenlink Schwunnels vision.
Of course, the project cannot guarantee local jobs because it would be illegal in Ontario to do so. Remember the big fiasco over Huron Lodge. Don’t expect Gord Henderson to be our champion either although he may think that you have forgotten what he said before during that controversy:
- “this is about compromising the bidding process to help $30-an-hour plus tradesmen find work at home and assisting local subcontractors in grabbing a piece of one of the juiciest projects to come along in some time.
The question is, where do we draw the line if we start undercutting competitions to keep Windsor folks working? Would it apply to bids to supply police cruisers from Tilbury auto firms? Or asphalt from a company based just outside the city limits? If the process becomes incestuous, with only Windsor firms competing for Windsor contracts, city taxpayers will be the big losers because prices will soar...
By the way, when did out-of-town construction workers become pariahs? These well-paid folks fill our motels and patronize our bars, restaurants and malls. They're a godsend for the hospitality industry.
If council rejects the low bidder Monday, after falling on its face over the Buskers handout, its fiscal credibility will lie in tatters on the eve of budget deliberations.”
We are told already in the Star article that
- “A spokesman for Infrastructure Ontario said he expects the lion's share of jobs will go to local workers regardless of which consortium wins control of the highway project. He pointed to 22 other Ontario infrastructure projects underway where that has been the experience.
"Obviously with this project there will be domestic and international interest," said Steve Dyck. "But at the end of the day, the consortium we believe will be dependent on local resources to get it done, similar to all our other projects."
He suggested that wording could be built in the RFQ to favour use of Windsor-area workers.”
When you see Eddie making his big pitch and Dwight agreeing to consider this matter seriously, because after all he is a local MPP as well, then you will understand that this is all being orchestrated. That is the answer isn’t it so enjoy your weekend.
Of course if the winning Consortium partner has local connections, it makes it even better. No one here would object when the partner hangs out the "Help Wanted" sign. More praise to our local political heroes.
Just to let you know, Infrastructure Ontario views this as its role and why its role is essential to all of this:
- “For some of the Province’s biggest projects, Infrastructure Ontario uses private financing to strategically rebuild vital infrastructure while maintaining public control…
For projects in the range of $50 million to $300 million, or more, the crown corporation is mandated to set project criteria, bring together public and private sector organizations, conduct a procurement process to select a private-sector consortia and ensure the public interest is upheld throughout the life of the project.
Infrastructure Ontario’s aim is to take better control over limited resources through accountability, transparency and investing wisely to bring projects online on time and on budget. Our mandate is about utilizing private-sector expertise, not about privatization, to ensure the expansion and revitalization of public assets.
The old ways of financing and managing infrastructure projects were inefficient. A lot of things were done well, like setting priorities and allocating resources, but too often projects ended up over budget and over schedule. And taxpayers paid for these inefficiencies.
There is true commitment to adhering to expected and planned life-cycle costs throughout all phases, from design and construction to maintenance. For example, payments to the private sector contractor will be linked to a level of service based on specified performance standards.”
Since the DRIC road is a huge project, or is going to be defined that way, then Infrastructure Ontario is going to be involved. And didn't Len Kozachuk of URS, the Engineering firm who acted as consultat for DRIC Canada just become Vice President of Project Assessment for Infrastructure Ontario. You have no idea how hard that information was to get out that organization!
The DRIC road project will morph into a P3 too as I shall discuss in another BLOG soon. Of course, it could have been handled differently, just like the Manning Road work as set out in the same edition of the Star:
- “Subject to funding approval, construction would be done in five phases over 7.5 years, generally moving from north to south.”
However, if it was done that way, then the Province might not have control over who would actually do the building. Too many companies could be involved at that time. As we know as well from that story, the $1.6 billion for the DRIC road should probably be doubled by the time it is done given the way the Manning Road has escalated from $125M-$200M over a one-year period.
As well, I would expect that the road project and the Federal bridge and plaza project would ultimately become one. It would be one giant P3 project because otherwise it does not make sense to have two of them.
The project will be an enormous one because all the numbers that we have heard so far are mere estimates. If the road, plaza and bridge cost around $3 or $4 billion then expect the amounts to double by the time this is finished.
This is after all our Megaproject run amok. It is our Big Dig. The Province and the Federal Government need to be in control of all of this money that will be used by the time it is done. They know as well as you and I do that there will be huge cost overruns from the estimates. They have to control that.
Now this is where the fun begins and local contractors should relax. It is obvious that no local contractor has the skill to plan, build, finance, operate and manage a bridge/plaza border operation and to do the engineering required for tunnels and Schwunnels and whatever. However, they do have some of the skills required and the workforce to do the actual construction job. Really, what is the difference between this and Huron Lodge where local subtrades were involved even though the General Contractor was out of London. There is a need however to ensure that a foreign consortium doesn’t get the work.
That this is an issue can be seen by the fact that Brian Masse is there already pontificating “There ought to be a law.” He has the knack at least to be front and centre as the issue becomes public so he too can claim the glory. I give him political credit for doing the obvious just before it becomes obvious.
What is needed therefore is a major Canadian engineering firm that has the expertise and the background to do all this, a financing source given the huge amounts of money that would be involved, a firm that can do a lot of the work according to the plans that are prepared by the major firm and a workforce that can do all of this.
This is not one small job either and that is why Infrastructure Ontario needs to be involved. The Feds will have an interest as well given their part of the work and they would need a firm that has a reputation of being able to handle such a project.
When this goes out for a Request for Quotation, there will be relatively few groups that will be able to bid on it. I could tell you who I thought was going to get the deal and who all of the partners were but I’m not going to do it as that would take away all of the surprise.
Rest assured that the firm whom I think will be the major player in all this recognized this opportunity. Recently, they positioned the firm quite well to make this all happen.
So, dear contractors, keep on reading the headlines and the news stories because they are there for a purpose. Just recognize exactly what is going on. Make sure that you have a positive and strong voice through your Organizations to make this happen. This is political after all and you know what politics is like. Keep the pressure on the politicians because after all they do not care about how much money is wasted. All they care about is that they are re-elected.
You may as well get in on the action too if there is federal and proovincial money to spread around for the good of the Community. It's not hard to accomplish as our local sucesses with STOPDRTP and WeACT demonstrate.
AND MAKE SURE THAT YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES KEEP ON READING THIS BLOG FOR ALL THE INSIDE SPECULATION! SEND ME THEIR NAMES AND I WILL ADD THEM TO MY MAILING LIST