Mayor says it’s full steam ahead on construction in the meantime
Talks are ongoing over construction permits for a replacement for the Placentia lift bridge. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
Staff with the provincial Department of Transportation and Works and the Town of Placentia will sit down to talk through a dispute over construction permitting for the new lift bridge in Placentia.
Placentia Mayor Bill Hogan said Monday a meeting is set to happen within the next couple of days.
As Hogan told The Telegram last week, the town is demanding about $400,000 for municipal permits for the replacement of the Sir Ambrose Shea Lift Bridge.
To date, both the company that was awarded the tender for the project and the provincial government have refused to pay.
Provincial Minister of Transportation and Works Paul Davis said he received communication from Hogan indicating “no permit, no work.”
Despite the hard line in his messages, Hogan now says there will be no stoppage of work, at least not at this point.
He characterized discussions with the minister in the past few days as agreeing to disagree on whether or not municipal permits are required. He also said the dispute may mellow, depending on how discussions go between staff from both sides in the next two days.
He said the town council will ultimately determine how things progress.
“They’re the deciders. I’m just the mouthpiece,” he said with a laugh.
The mayor also said the current position of his government should be made clear: the town currently expects permit fees to be paid.
On the other hand, the transportation minister said, staff from his department have already been in contact with town staff on the bridge project. He said the upcoming meeting will be about maintaining lines of communication.
Davis reiterated the provincial government’s position that no fee will be paid, noting there is no record of fees for construction permits ever being paid to a provincial municipality for a road infrastructure project.
H.J. O’Connell Construction Ltd. was officially awarded the $40.6-million Placentia bridge contract by the provincial government on March 5. The company has declined comment on the permit flap.