Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Real 400 Building Audit Scandal: The Arena

Angela Berry has done taxpayers a great service. Her Audit Report is a tale of massive City incompetence that has cost taxpayers millions of dollars in the 400 Building (although that amount has not been calculated) and will have cost us millions more in projects that followed because the Dunbar lessons were never learned since they were kept hidden for years.

Here are some figures you might consider to understand what I mean:
  • "Vindella’s original price per sq ft was identified as $182.50. Mady’s was $164. After adjustments: Vindella’s overall price is $154 per sq ft. Now Mady’s price is $157 per sq ft.

    Keep in mind this is for a 10 storey building. If we adjust for the difference in cost between a 4 storey [Vindella] and a 10 storey [Mady] building… makes Mady’s final price $126 per sq ft.

    Even if this adjustment were not made, Mady’s’s final price was $157 per sq ft with a huge score advantage in the assessment matrix over the Vindella proposal which was $154 per square foot.

    If Mady had the opportunity to revise his proposal to a 4 storey building, it is reasonable to assume that his price would have come in a much less than the $154 per sq ft of Vindella."
The Mike Dunbar Audit must be released to the public immediately and all the events surrounding it must be investigated thoroughly even if it takes a judicial inquiry to do so.

In my opinion, his report is fundamental to understanding why there was such a huge rush to get the arena deal signed, sealed and delivered before the new City Council took over in 2007. Those details will be outlined below.

And it has nothing to do with Project Ice Track moving to Tecumseh either.
  • "Dunbar, a whistleblower in the MFP financing scandal, had "limited access to the project records and project staff to provide clarification and answers to all questions," but taxpayers still don't know why and whether to blame personalities or systemic failings.

    Was the auditor asking the wrong questions of the wrong people before all the files had been closed?

    Did administrators -- taking their cue from the top -- treat his legitimate queries on behalf of taxpayers as more meddlesome than meaningful?

    Did they dodge phone calls and duck under desks when the auditor came knocking on their office doors?

    "He obviously ran into roadblocks, administrative roadblocks, in getting information," said committee member and Ward 3 Coun. Alan Halberstadt.

    "That's emerging as a huge issue in this whole audit, as it should be. The city auditor, the auditor general, should have unfettered access to information. In this particular case, it didn't happen."

    That's disturbing and should have been rectified in a sternly worded memo to staff from Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis or CAO John Skorobohacz.

    Administrators finally provided auditors late in 2008 -- three years after the building opened and nearly two years after Dunbar's probe -- with "increased access to records, personnel and physical properties" including "11 banker boxes of physical records" and a "large volume" of electronic files."

This BLOG is another long read and I hope you believe it is worth it. You will have time to read it during he holidays after stuffing yourself full of holiday goodies when you have all the time in the world, right! It will give you a completely different perspective about why the 400 Building is a scandal. It really has nothing to do with what the auditor is disclosing in the audit report about the building. It is so much more than that.

Oh I don't expect anything earth-shattering in the Dunbar Audit that the just released audit report will not cover. Angela Berry as Lead Auditor will do a very good job I am sure. However, it is important to know what City officials knew in late 2006 BEFORE the decision was made to build the East End arena.
Why is this so important? As the Star Editorial said in July, 2008:
  • "Though audits are wrongly regarded by some as "witch-hunts," Francis rightly pointed out audits help define deficiencies and strengths so lessons can be learned and processes improved.

    In Windsor's case, for example, experience gained during the construction of the 400 building, which ultimately cost $6 million or 22 per cent more than projected in the original budget, would have proven useful during the construction of the $65-million arena."

I suspect that they knew everything about what was in it and maybe even more. What is the consequence:


That is the scandal legacy of the 400 Building.

That project was an unmitigated disaster that opened up the City to a number of lawsuits that probably would have been successful. Just read the comments from the report that I am posting below and weep.

I feel vindicated now. There is even more that I should have written about to the Minister than I knew then:

    October 4, 2006

    Ed Arditti, resident

    Ed Arditti, resident, appears before Council to request that Council reject the recommendation by Administration approving the PCR Contractors Inc. guaranteed fixed price proposal at $47,920,000 for construction of the east end recreation complex, stating that all potential offers need to be fully explored before making any viable decision, and concludes by expressing concern over the use of sole-sourcing as opposed to the requirements of a full RFP process, and suggests that perhaps a judicial review of the entire process undertaken with regards to the arena file needs to be initiated.
  • 10-19-2006 Windsor Star

    A South Windsor resident wants the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to investigate what led city council to approve a plan for an east end arena. But it might be a tough sell convincing the ministry to look into the matter.

    Ed Arditti, a lawyer and community activist, who writes a daily political web log on municipal issues, wants the matter referred to the Ontario Municipal Board. He sent a 22-page letter Wednesday to the ministry outlining his concerns which centre on conflict of interest issues and what he says are violations of the city's purchasing bylaw.

    "I'm giving him 22 pages of what I consider to be good facts, which should raise questions that people ought to be concerned about, including the minister," Arditti said during a news conference.

How could this possibly be and why:

Remember how this all began... the positive story that we were told. As I wrote before:

  • "Back in February of 2006, the Star reported:

    "Councillors approved a report by an independent consultant who found the building was constructed under budget and filled an important need by bringing several city departments under one roof. "Overall, the assessment was that it was done well" and it met the objectives of the city, said John Skorobohacz, the city's chief administrative officer...

    Skorobohacz said the project came in under budget and the city will have an extra $1 million, based on projected revenues and operating expenses.

    The contractor wrote a Letter to the Editor in which he said:

    "After much speculation, allegations and innuendoes, it is vindicating to read in The Star report of Feb. 7 that the municipal building at 400 City Hall Square was constructed under budget. Not that we, the design builder, had any doubts about the conclusions now reached by Coun. Fulvio Valentinis, the independent consultant and the city's chief administrative officer."

    One might want to call up that independent consultant and ask him if he still believes what he said based on this Audit. I certainly believe that the CAO needs to be confronted publicly at Council and asked how he could make his comment. It has to be based on something.

Interestingly, here is what the Auditor said about that consultant's Report:

  • "In October 2005, the City of Windsor hired Brodel Management to conduct a review of the new building using a very limited scope for the review. The proposal to conduct the review stated that “The primary focus of this review is ‘what did we learn’ and ‘how do we do things better?’”

Brodel Management was paid $13,811 to review the construction of 400 City Hall Square. And remember how another consultant hired pushed Council to sign on the dotted line or else regarding the arena:

  • "Greg Curan, representing Curan McCabe Ravindran Ross Inc., appears before Council to provide an overview of their cost review for the proposed Greater Windsor Recreation and Sports Centre, and concludes that overall, PCR’s Design Build proposal of $47,920,000 excluding GST is a fair market value for the project given the scope included, and that the budgetary allowances for “fit-up costs’ and “site servicing costs” are reasonable, and reiterates that should the project be delayed, there would be a potential for the cost of the project to increase."

Let us acknowledge that the 400 Building project was a disaster.

Interestingly, there was mention of the names of Councillors from the past but very few references to the names of Councillors on Council today who were participants in directing the 400 Building project. Councillor Valentinis as I wrote before, as an example, was the only Councillor who was there throughout. He was the Councillor who was involved in the project from start to finish and its biggest defender. If it turns out to be a mess, then he takes the blow and just before an election too.

I’m so glad that these Councillors were protected so that we don’t know whom to blame for this entire screw-up.

I do not recall seeing anything in the Report about the Administrative failure re St. Clair College not coming to the building.

We knew that it was going to be such a disaster because of the failure to deliver the Dunbar Audit by pretending that it really was a draft report, not a final one and that it was incomplete.

Let us accept what the Audit stated that it covered the grounds set out in Dunbar.

We have now an explanation why the City did not want to reveal the Dunbar Audit back in 2006 or 2007: there was a real risk of a City being sued by one or more of the unsuccessful bidders on the project:

  • "EllisDon was aware of its legal rights. The City is fortunate not to have been sued... Such legal proceedings would have imposed significant costs on the City in terms of legal expenses and potential damage claims, not to mention the political and reputational cost to the City...

    Unless there is something we do not know, any claim by EllisDon for breach of the "bidding contract" expires six years after its recognition that it had a claim. At some point prior to October 30, 2002 – when EllisDon wrote to the then Mayor – it recognized it had a claim. We believe any claim which EllisDon might be able to make on this RFP is now, in all likelihood, statute barred as being beyond limitation period."

All the nonsense that we were fed for years including Administration not talking to the City Auditor and the missing boxes of documents were that, nonsense. Mere diversionary tactics. Play the poor citizens. They won't know any better.

Should we congratulate our brilliant Mayor and Administration for not releasing the Report until this time so that the likelihood of a lawsuit is minimal? You can do it if you choose to do so, dear Reader, but as for me, I choose not to be misled by the people who govern me even if it is supposedly to my advantage.

Here's the problem though. They forgot about Chuck Mady who, if you read the report carefully, was royally screwed. Now that the facts are out there, facts that he never could have known about, he can sue and win easily:

  • According to project documentation, given fair presentation of financial facts, Mady was the lowest priced proposal at this time.
  • On the RFP assessment matrix, Mady scored second to EllisDon while Mady's price was lower than all prices. Notwithstanding, Mady's proposal was not shortlisted.
  • Mady was given no opportunities to submit an additional proposal while Vendela was given the opportunity."

Oh my aching taxpayer pocket-book!

I had heard a long time ago that this was supposedly a real risk to the City but a few phone calls I made told me that the real risk was inconsequential.

Let's get real. One of the practical issues which any party must consider before commencing an action is the cost to bring the lawsuit compared with the potential recovery. Moreover, a supplier to a large customer does not help his cause by suing its existing and prospective clients. There are business deals to be done in the future and few contractors would sue a major customer like the City and risk being shut-out from new jobs.

I think there was another reason why the audit took so long to come out. As I said above, so the arena could be built as I will demonstrate below.

By not releasing the Audit in a timely fashion, in fact there was an adverse consequence that may well have impacted us drastically. By not revealing the facts in a timely manner through the Dunbar audit, the City could not learn and may well have committed the same sins as in the 400 Building project and more in the construction of the arena.

What I am going to set out now are a number of comments made in the Audit Report that I believe that you should read along with my comments. I have no intention of going through 200 pages of the detailed Audit Report in this BLOG but rather choose to give you an overview of the comments made to show how much of a mess this City has been under in the past and frankly, has not changed very much under two terms of Edgar (aka Eddie).

If it makes you sick to your stomach to see the incompetence, then imagine what may come as other audits are undertaken.

  1. While the audit findings of the project events are concerning, the root cause of what took place is that the City’s governance structure at that time was not as robust as it should have been. It was significantly fragmented creating an environment ripe for exposing the City to unnecessary risk and cost. The criticisms in this report reveal that risk. The report recommendations should assist the City to improve its performance on similar large and/or complex procurement projects and to improve on the quality and usefulness of information reported to Council for decision-making purposes. [Opportunity lost on the arena]
  2. We were able to identify significant risk and control weaknesses in the City’s governance structure, to present an inventory of what the City has done since 2002 to improve the weakened control conditions, and to develop recommendations towards improvement on serious risk weaknesses that exist today. [Unfortunately, most of the so-called improvements took place in 2007 and beyond after the arena deal was signed!]
  3. The recommendations of the report speak to a call for reform to the City’s governance structure and its support systems. The main audit report demonstrates the need for such change, through findings and detailed discussions of the decisions and actions of the City during the project Design/Build RFP and Main Furniture Tender processes. [There is still a need to reform.]
  4. These serious problems faced by the City prompted the decision of Council to step into the role of Administration in undertaking a review of the RFP responses in developing a short list of the RFP proponents for the 400 CHS project. This action took place in the midst of Administration managing the RFP process and created an environment of conflicting processes, unfair practices frustration and intimidation. [Hmmm Council was in charge of the arena project supposedly too]
  5. Certain practices used by the City – both staff and Council members – during the RFP process through to the award of the contract of the selected proponent, were unfair and were in contravention of the laws that govern the City of Windsor. The audit assists in providing recommendations to address the risk of the City making the same mistakes in the future. [Well, looks like we blew that on the arena deal since the Dunbar audit was never released!]
  6. Therefore, by using the examples of the past from which to learn important lessons, the audit can help prevent the recurrence of structural weaknesses in the City's governance system [As above, we blew it again]
  7. Administration did not provide Council with a strong business case with a defined critical overview of the prospective financial and environmental impacts, risks of, or alternatives to the project. [Failure of Administration that we also saw in the CUPE strike]
  8. Anyone preparing information for Council, which is intended to be acted upon, has a duty of care to take all reasonable steps to ensure that what is prepared for Council is done so with great clarity, is unbiased and includes all relevant information and that is material to the decision. The reporting to Council in this case was unclear, weak in disclosure of relevant material information in some areas was inconsistent. [Damning indictment of Administration. Same issues now with the CUPE strike? And with what else? Should heads roll?]
  9. Additional causes for the problems include, that the situation resulted in considerable confusion and inconsistency regarding the respective roles of individual members of Council and the Administration on the committee appointed to oversee the RFP process. And that throughout the 400 CHS procurement processes, Council members and some senior staff members came to demonstrate a low level of awareness and understanding of some of the most basic principles of the laws governing the City. [[Has anything really changed now?]
  10. The overriding concern of the findings presented in this audit report is that weaknesses in the City’s governance structure and support systems, compounded by a low level of awareness and understanding of the principles of some of the laws governing the City, have led to an ongoing problem for the city of Windsor. While a great deal of progress has been made since 2002, they were still a significant level of risk that remains today [Obviously, since this report is long overdue by years!]
  11. The central conclusion of the review was that certain practices used by the City, both staff and Council members, during the RFP process through to the award of a contract of the selected proponent, were unfair and were in contravention of the laws that govern the City of Windsor…. There is concern that the environment and culture of the City during the 400 CHS project fostered the pressure, opportunity and the rationalization to bend or go around the rules. [I would be willing to wager it was just as bad or worse on the arena deal where political lives were at stake]
  12. The adverse impact of this type of risk environment is the strongest in times where it matters the most, when the city is in the process of making important, time sensitive and except expensive decisions. Given the ongoing high volume of work and activities, there is a concern that this is a regular risk scenario for Council and Administration at the City of Windsor and that is our strong recommendation that this negative culture and governance environment be immediately addressed. [It has to be even worse now with high unemployment, fiscal pressures and Edgar's hugely expensive and absurd mind's eyes visions dominating the scene]
  13. … the result was unfair and caused the risk of costly lawsuits against the City, members of Council and members of senior administration.
  14. Because of the problems in the governance structure, Council and some members of Administration were without access to critical information that would have presented them the opportunity to help the City make alternative, or better, decisions [How does City Hall secrecy with information being kept from Council in a timely fashion fit into this?]
  15. Through this audit, we have raised the awareness that in today’s environment of municipal transparency and accountability, both Council and senior Administration are at risk of making decisions without access to the best information available to the point where serious errors may be made and serious risk may be invited. Both Council and senior Administration are at risk of being held legally and professionally responsible for errors that take place in the name of the City of Windsor [Damning indictment of City Hall failure and the legal consequences to taxpayers.]
  16. The problem was, and remains, the weaknesses of the City’s governance structure. Focusing on the structural problems… the audit recommendations call for reform to the City’s governance system. [So much for Edgar's campaign promise of many years ago when he first ran: "Too often, a very important segment of our community’s management equation – your elected representatives on City Council – have not been trusted with key information. As Mayor, I will ensure that Councillors are always informed, not neutralized. I will strive to consistently build a collegial atmosphere, not an autocratic one, between the Mayor and the ten Councillors.]
  17. And… the second is more long-term: effect the changes needed to prevent the City from making the same mistakes in the future. [Remember MFP, Canderel etc. Here we go again]
  18. Council members and some senior staff members demonstrated a lack of awareness and understanding of some of the most basic principles of the laws governing the City.
  19. The City Solicitor was impeded from carrying out the legal duties of his senior legal position
  20. The City is fortunate not have been sued by EllisDon when it was passed over… Such legal proceedings would have imposed significant cost on the city
  21. A best practice of project management is that a successful project starts with a solid business case, one that justifies informed, high-level support that later, everyone else can also see reason to support. We did not find evidence of a comprehensive business case being presented to Council for informed decision-making purposes for this project. The decision to proceed does not appear to have been based on a defined critical review of the prospective financial and environmental impacts, risks of, or alternatives to the project.
  22. The cart was put before the horse when the project was approved before the project was planned… between the "idea" and the "reality" phases, the critical steps taken towards project planning and implementation were weak, perhaps because a strong business case was never created [See below re the arena! It will make your skin crawl]
  23. Conducting the business of large project management with a good method of methodology – and good controls in place to ensure the methodology is working – puts City projects at risk of being managed ad-hoc. Managing a large procurement projects in this type of unplanned, reactive environment, is almost certain to lead to problems that may be avoided with a detailed business plan.
  24. The overriding concern is not a question of the dedication, commitment or skill of Administration, but that, for most part for most staff, large and/or complex Project Management is not the principal role of Administration. [The City should not be in the business of constructing large projects. But see above what the then-CAO said in February, 2006 re how well we did in this project coming in under budget!]
  25. Phase 1 of a best practice project management methodology requires a solid business plan to serve as the foundation for the project. The City does not currently have a project management methodology in place that makes this a requirement. Project Management is a profession…. In today’s project environment, until such time as the City establishes an adequate project management methodology, at least for major projects, the City’s project management process where will remain one of "high risk", and beset by preventable problems. [Poor Angela Berry if she has to do the Arena audit next]
  26. We suggest that Administration consider using a Project Management Professional (whether internal or external) experienced in large and complex projects, to assist in developing an improved project management methodology
  27. The following list of initiatives and actions of Council, supported by the City’s Administration, demonstrate the City’s deliberate path to increasing transparency and accountability of the municipality: [NOTE all actions identified took place AFTER January 1, 2007, after the deal for the arena was signed by the previous Council. In fact, the earliest action took place in October, 2007.]

It is a shopping list of horrors that City Council could have dealt with if the Dunbar Audit had been released in a timely fashion before commencing work on the Arena. But of course, as we now know, it was not released.

What is interesting in looking back is the speed at which the arena transaction took place.

Hurry, hurry, hurry was the name of the game it seemed. One wonders how much Senior people at City Hall knew about what the City Auditor might reveal with the 400 Building audit and whether steps were taken to get this arena project signed up as quickly as possible for fear that the Audit report would come out and stop everything.

If you believe that this is extremely cynical, then take a look at this comment from the Report:

  • Between January 2002 in September 2002, members of junior Administration brought concerns to the attention of some senior Administration and the message reached the then-CAO regarding the city's own departures from the announced RFP process as represented to the prospective proponents.
  • The concerns about going offsite legally reached the level the then-CAO. However, through the lack of documentation or comment support, it remains unclear whether the then-CAO ever apprised the Councillors on the ad-hoc procurement committee, or apprised Council as a whole, of the dangers of selecting the final proponent without compliance with the applicable procurement rules.

In other words, problems were recognized by Administration long before the Dunbar Audit was ever presented even in its draft form. There is no evidence that this was ever presented to Council before the arena transaction was completed.

Let me also bring to your attention some very interesting matters that took place at Council that suggests to me a desire to rush this process along with respect to the arena without learning the lessons of the 400 Building:

  • 10-05-2006

    City Council voted late Wednesday to move ahead with a new arena and sports centre in east Windsor.

    "I'm not prepared to wait for a better deal because I don't think there's one out there," said Ward 2 Coun. Caroline Postma. "It's time to move, it's the right thing to do."

  • Nov 6, 2006 CR539/2006

    That the Chief Administrator and City Clerk BE AUTHORIZED, subject to successful acquisition of land, securing interim bridge financing and PCR providing a performance bond equal to 50% of the contract price, to execute the construction contract with PCR Contractors Inc. (5255 County Road #42, Windsor, ON N8N 2M1) to undertake the construction and related activities of the East End Recreation Complex for a fixed price sum of $47,920,000 plus G.S.T., satisfactory in form to the City Solicitor, satisfactory in financial content to the City Treasurer, and satisfactory in technical content and specifications to the Executive Director of Parks and Facility perations and the Executive Director of Recreation;

    And further, RE-TITLE Capital Project 7063038 ($250,000) from Riverside Arena Twinning to East End Recreation Complex to reflect consulting and administrative costs necessary to complete Council’s directions to develop and quantify scope and budget for the project.

  • Nov 27, 2006

    THAT City Council APPROVE the East End Arena Recreation Complex project structure and terms of reference as proposed by administration

    THAT the City Clerk BE DIRECTED to bring the issue of Steering Committee composition forth to the Striking Committee at the earliest opportunity.

    Former CAO John Skorobohacz was first given a draft of Dunbar's audit report in December 2006. Dunbar resigned on Dec. 31, 2007.

  • December 18, 2006 last meeting of the year for this Council and before the new Council came into office in 2007

    Consent Agenda

    That the following Consent Agenda and the recommendations contained in the administrative reports BE APPROVED as amended:

    Item 7 Consent to Enter, Permission to Access, Rear Lands Through Site, Multi-Plex Arena Complex and Letter of Intent to PCR Contractors, 1600 Lauzon Road


    That APPROVAL BE GIVEN to enter into a Consent to Enter Agreement and Permission to Access Rear Lands with Farhi Holdings Corporation, the Vendor of the rear lands from 1600 Lauzon Road, to allow construction of the multi-plex arena to start prior to the closing of the land transaction and prior to construction of the McHugh Street extension; and

    That the CAO and City Clerk BE AUTHORIZED to sign the Consent to Enter Agreement prepared in form and content satisfactory to the City Solicitor; and further

    That APPROVAL BE GIVEN to enter into a Letter of Intent with PCR Contractors in advance of signing of the full Design/ Build Contract for the arena Contract, in order that PCR Contractors can commit their resources to the project to finalize the contract drawings necessary for the construction contract; and

    That the CAO and City Clerk BE AUTHORIZED to sign the Letter of Intent, approved as to form by the City Solicitor, as to technical content by the Executive Director of Parks & Facilities and as to financial content by the City Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer.

    [As I wrote at the time:

    Apparently there is this huge urgency to get started before anything is signed and before the City's due diligence is completed. You see everything must get completed for some reason before the fall of 2008. Oh I know it is for the Spitfires' new hockey season but I do not see them putting their name on the dotted line to share the risk.

    Approval is required by Council to allow the City to start work on the Fahri lands on Lauzon for the arena before the land transaction is completed and to enter into a Letter of Intent with PCR to allow them to finalize drawings before the signing of the Full Design/Build Contract and before interim financing of several million dollars is approved by Council.

    Now there is this comment put in on the bottom of Page 2 of the Administration Report that if the project is halted, then the City might have full liability for costs such as material costs and architectural fees, the amount of which Administration graciously did not include so as to worry the Councillors.

    Why can you imagine if PCR ordered all of the materials worth millions and then the deal fell apart! Oh my! We would have to wait until someone else wanted to buy a 1999Port Huron designed arena complex to try and get our money back.

    I can imagine all kinds of reasons for the project being halted from a lawsuit over legality of the process to environmental to not being able to negotiate a contract. The City is absolutely negotiating from a position of weakness once it has committed to pay for fees and materials as Administration is urging Council to do.

    I really have trouble believing that anyone on Council will approve such a request. Why even our Legal Technocrat would never I am sure allow someone to do what is being suggested if he were in private practice in the simplest of house deals never mind a mega-million dollar deal.

    Come on, I wonder if this is being done as a pressure play on Councillors to ensure that the arena is built no matter what happens with Project Ice Track. Once Councillors sign off on what is being proposed, then we are stuck. Even if the Purchasing By-law is subsequently invoked or if the deal falls apart, the City would be exposed to damages claims in the millions of dollars.

  • January 15, 2007 With the new Council in place, now they are on-side with the deal like it or not. It is too late to reject it now
  • CR25/2007
    a. That the Site Plan Approval of the East Windsor Recreation Complex as it relates to the proposed building envelope structure BE APPROVED as located and generally shown on Map #SPC 002/07-1 and 2 (detail) dated January 2007.
    b. That the Chief Building Official BE AUTHORIZED to issue construction permits as required for the proposed East Windsor Recreation Complex structure (Arena Building Envelope) as located and generally shown on Map #SPC 002/07-1 and – 2 (detail) dated January 2007.
    c. That in Accordance with By-law #11275 (delegation of authority for Site Plan Approval) the delegated official BE AUTHORIZED to approve any minor changes to the location of the East Windsor Recreation Complex structure (Arena Building Envelope).
    d. That in consideration of the time sensitive nature of the project the Site Plan Approval of the East Windsor Recreation Complex BE EXPEDIATED and that Administration notifies adjacent stakeholders for input.
    e. That in Accordance with By-law #11275 (delegation of authority for Site Plan Approval) the delegated official in consultation with the Council Steering Committee for the East Windsor Recreation Complex BE AUTHORIZED to approve the remainder of the recreation complex site (i.e. elevations, access, parking areas, lighting, landscaping, screening, etc.).
  • CR26/2007
    THAT City Council AUTHORIZE the City Treasurer to borrow on a temporary basis the funds required in connection with the construction of the Greater Windsor Recreation & Sports Centre;

    THAT City Council APPROVE the recommendation to provide temporary financing for the construction phase of the project by way of bankers acceptance draws;

As I BLOGGED back in early October when Part 1 of the 400 Building audit came out to summarize all of this for you

  • "So what is this all about? What is the real story behind this? We know it is the old Edgar stall game but why?

    As I BLOGGED before, it has nothing to do with the 400 Building but everything to do with the Arena. "11 Boxes As A Stalling Device"

    With the 400 Audit going on forever, there is not time now to do an audit on that monument until after the election. No scandals if any can be made apparent until our new Mayor and Council have been put into office and then it is too late:

    Have we all been played again? Was it was the stall and distract tactic once again. If so, I am so tired of it. I have been telling you about it, dear reader, with respect to the border file for so long so it should not come as a surprise to you if this happened all over again.

    Do you really think that there is anything substantially different in the Dunbar audit than there is in what was disclosed yesterday in the 200 Building audit i.e. Part One of the 400 Building audit? I would doubt it. My guess as well is that Mr. Dunbar probably saw most of what was in the 11 boxes of documents that surprisingly made an appearance that stalled off disclosure of the Audit Report until the City auditor was able to look at the materials.

    What is the difference after all between not having an audit come out in a timely fashion because all of a sudden 11 boxes are mysteriously produced and using full tunneling/Greenlinks to stall off the building of the road to the border until the Province has the money to do it...

    The really shocking revelation as far as he ought to be concerned is that no business case was presented to justify the project in the first place.

    'Prior to the project approval, we expected to find in place a comprehensive business case analysis for a supportable, validated, investment decision. It was anticipated that the business case documentation itself would have set out clear objectives, scope, expected outcomes, critical success factors, risk assessment and risk mitigating measures, an environmental assessment, strategic alignments. The expected business plan would have clearly analysed costs and benefits of the project to Council for decision-making purposes...'

    However, in Windsor, there are more things around than meet the eye. Nothing is as plain as it seems in this City for whatever reason.

    Just consider that the final draft of the Dunbar report was given to the CAO sometime in late 2006. That means most of the work had probably been completed by the fall of 2006. Now sit back and think, what else was taking place in the fall of 2006 that was historic for Windsor. What project could have meant the end of the careers of certain politicians in Windsor if it had not been started?

    Oh I think that you are almost there. It was a design/build project as well, just like the 400 Building. It was started before there was a signed contract. As part of the justification on price, certain other City buildings were to be sold. It was all rush, rush, rush and significant mistakes were made that will now cost us money. Of course, the extra costs will not be shown as part of the project because it is finished, including financing costs that will be charged to General Revenues. It is claimed as well that it was built on budget. And one more amusing point, just like the 400 Building, there is a huge issue with respect to parking.

    Now you know. I’m talking about the East End Arena. If the audit on the 400 Building had come out in the fall of 2006, someone could have asked questions about whether the arena was being constructed in a manner that was more satisfactory than the 400 Building fiasco. Wasn’t our last Municipal Election in the mid-November, 2006? Can you imagine as well the outcry that well could have cost some people their political careers. It might have meant that Project Ice Track would have been built instead in Tecumseh."

    Now the issue is delaying the audit on the Arena for an eternity or perhaps never having one in the first place because of the politicizing of the process."

    So sit back and relax. This is politics too but we are deemed to be too stupid as mere citizens to understand it."