Mayor, councillors disregard viable offer

NANAIMO – Re: Council unmoved on dam destruction despite impassioned speakers, June 13.

To the Editor,

Re: Council unmoved on dam destruction despite impassioned speakers, June 13.

At the June 10 council meeting regarding the Colliery dams, one of the nearly 40 presenters, Rick Earl, offered to have his contracting firm, CANbuild Solutions, take on risk mitigation by lowering the water levels behind the dams for a year, with siphons and pumps.

He also offered an insured, bonded contract to design, demolish and rebuild the dams for $8.6 million, in the stages outlined in Coun. Fred Pattje’s motion of a month ago,  with no cost overruns or contingency risks to the taxpayers of Nanaimo.

Earl represents an established bonded and insured contracting company. He also mentioned they had spoken with their bonding company and received approval for the contract offer.

At one point during his presentation Coun. Diana Johnstone said this was the risk mitigation they were looking for, relating to Earl’s guarantee that his company could keep the dam water levels down through the winter and through extreme weather events.

Why did the mayor, and the four councillors who voted with him, proceed as if Earl’s presentation never happened, and as if there was no way to mitigate the risk?

Who specifically was advising them before the meeting, in a manner that made them feel confident to ignore the offered contract of an insured, bonded and established contracting company, and a bonding agency behind him?

Assuming the city will actually end up building new dams in accordance with Coun. Diane Brennan’s motion of a month ago (I have my doubts) how will they justify the higher costs to the taxpayers that their vote and stance on this issue will entail?

Finally, how do the mayor and the four councillors justify the condescending, patronizing and paternal tone they have adopted around this issue, suggesting they alone understand risk and can manage it?

On the other side of this debate stands at least one bonded construction firm, the other four councillors, including Coun. Jim Kipp, with more relevant experience than any on council, MLA Doug Routley, and the citizens of Harewood, myself amongst them.

Are we all ignorant, insolent and irresponsible?

Ilan Goldenblatt