The City of Guelph is reporting that work on the renovations to Guelph Police Services headquarters are back underway after a summer of tumult where the old contractor was fired, another contractor was hired, and a lot concerns were levied from the public about another expensive construction that’s gone over time and over budget. So what progress can be made on the project now?
“We’re working closely with Perini Management to review completed work, identify deficiencies and come up with a realistic schedule for finishing this project,” said Ken VanderWal, acting project manager for the City of Guelph in a media release.
Construction on the Police headquarters renovations began in 2016, and was supposed to be completed sometime in the spring of 2019. Although work rolled on into the summer and fall, the City of Guelph raised no particular alarm that there were any problems with the project. In March, the City said construction was 97 per cent complete and 96 per cent of the total budget had been spent. A new completion date of September 2020 had been established.
Warning signs went up on the next report at the end of May when an information report to city council explained that the project had exhausted its budget at the end of February, and that staff were preparing a report to council with budgeting and funding recommendations for the final five months of construction. Still, staff reported that the project was “within scope.”
That tone changed drastically at the end of June when the City announced that they were removing Jasper Contracting as the general contractor on the project. In the period of a couple of weeks, Jasper was removed from three high-profile projects around Ontario. which suggests an issue on the part of the company and not the City.
“Personally, while the situation isn’t ideal, I see it as an important step for moving ahead and getting this project done, particularly in light of what I’ve seen reported by media with respect to the general contractor in other Ontario municipalities,” Mayor Cam Guthrie said in a statement in after Jasper’s firing.
In July, Perini Management was hired to complete the project. A project update released to council at the end of that month said that the project was now over budget with 99 per cent of the budget spent, but the City was still committed to finish the project by the end of September, which did not happen.
According to the City, renovations on Police headquarters will commence again next week, and a report on budget and schedule changes is expected to be received by council before the end of the year.