Cost of Constabulary renos rises

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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The RNC building in St. John's

The cost of redeveloping the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s home has increased by almost 20 per cent.

According to documents posted on the province’s website, the budget on the extensive renovations to Fort Townshend has ballooned from $48.3 million when it was announced in 2007 to $57.5 million as of April 9.

“Every project they have is a cost overrun,” Eddie Joyce, Liberal critic for Transportation and Works, said in reference to the provincial government.

The information was contained in an access to information request. The province started posting completed requests this week. The name of the person who asked for details about the RNC redevelopment is not provided.

“The project was originally envisioned to be completed in two phases, however later altered to three phases given the complex nature of the project,” the document states.

There is a separate cost and contract for each phase.

Besides construction, those costs include consultant fees, departmental management fees, furniture and equipment, and staff relocation.

Phase 1 has been completed, at a price tag of $5,220,700, more than a million higher than originally forecasted.

The second part of the construction is ongoing.

The total budget for that phase is $38.1 million, up from $34.1 million. About $32 million of the Phase 2 money is for construction, and $28.5 million of that has been spent.

The contract for the third and final phase of the redevelopment hasn’t been awarded.

The budget for that work is almost $14.2 million, $4.2 million higher than first estimated.

Joyce says this is the government’s latest overrun. He cites the renovations at Confederation Building as another.

“(It) started at $20 million and is now $48 (million),” he says.

Joyce suggests the government is either bad at planning or is not putting enough money aside before projects commence.

He contends the province doesn’t do proper analysis.

In an emailed statement, Transportation and Works Minister Paul Davis said the redevelopment includes work on RNC headquarters as well as The Annex, the old Memorial University building that houses some RNC operations.

Originally, he explained, it was thought renovations on both buildings would be done at the same time, but that was later deemed impractical.

“As the project progressed and engineering details were refined, it was determined that more extensive work was required in some areas which did increase costs accordingly,” Davis said.

The revised budget, he said, allows for renovations to the buildings to occur consecutively.

“Such variances in cost and timelines are not uncommon for large renovation projects,” the minister said. “Projects of this magnitude usually extend over several years and project estimates are refined as work continues.”

Given the higher-than-predicted price tags on RNC headquarters and the Confederation Building, Joyce fears revisions will also be needed for the $7.2-billion Muskrat Falls hydro-electric project.

He worries the overruns could be as high as $1.5 billion or $2 billion.

“People are going to pay for it,” Joyce says.

The RNC redevelopment was supposed to be done by December 2012.

The anticipated completion date is now September 2014.

sbartlett@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelegramSteve

Organizations: Confederation Building

Geographic location: Fort Townshend

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Recent comments

  • I'd be happy
    April 29, 2013 - 11:19

    if they found the person who stole the 50,000 from the RNC secure evidence room; i guess maybe was inside job; more RNC needed in NFLD; u gotta be joking; christer; you can keep few seniors left living on this rock in line with a couple of sling shots with few rubber marbles; let a lone a 9mm pistol strapped to your side; really a need for these fellows to be armed to the teeth to throw few drunks from george street into drunk tank on friday or saturday night

  • Ranter
    April 28, 2013 - 07:33

    It's orchestrated - they know its going to cost more but they intentionally under estimate the costs so the public can be bluffed. The real issue here is that the citizens of this province do not demand better - we simply live with the consequences and then turn to Open Line programs to vent - as if that was supposed to bring constructiveness to the situation. Newfoundlanders like to complain - but lack the guts and will to fix anything proactively.

  • mike
    April 28, 2013 - 04:19

    I would love to see some third party stats on the actual crime rates in the city. I would venture that they have actually been stable or at least at a slower increase than the rest of the country. The local news media has surely gotten better at sensationalizing the stories related to crime, however I do not believe that true statistics tell the story of any such drastic increase in crime in NL.

  • Don
    April 27, 2013 - 14:07

    Eddie Joyce knows as much about contracting as my little knows about operating a space shuttle --- maybe more then Joyce knows about contracting.

    • Wayne
      April 28, 2013 - 01:32

      It's not "then"; it's "than"!

  • nick
    April 27, 2013 - 13:21

    has anybody been in the RNC building latley? trust me the renovations are well needed. and in relation to pay raises, the officers are busier than ever before. they deserve every cent they earn and more. and believe me the officers dont make their money, they earn it.

    • skipper
      April 27, 2013 - 14:19

      Who are the govt. engineers on these projects obv.they are not very good at estimating job costs.or is the plan to bid really low and make a big fat profit on changes been made to the project jUST SAYING.

    • Sean
      April 27, 2013 - 16:19

      Nick, You must be RNC or an affiliate to make such a bone head remark. I know there is more crime here than ever, but it is about time they started to earn the money they already make, without a raise When do we hear of a cop getting hurt or killed? Never!!!!!. Imagine, an RNC constable makes more than a police officer in New York city. These cops are over paid especially when you see everybody else in government losing their jobs or getting cuts. Leave it to NL politicians to screww things up

  • Bob
    April 27, 2013 - 12:45

    Couldn't they have hunkered down in their old barracks for a few more years during these austerity times when everything else s being cut?? Oh no,they had to have a new shiny building and we have to pay for it even though many of us are losing our jobs because the government has squandered our money. The cops will soon be the only ones working and driving around in their shiny new cruisers looking down at the rest of us. What a joke.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    April 27, 2013 - 12:44

    Holyrood was needed to supply only 10.8% of the island's energy last year (2012). That is lower than the 2010 low of 11.5%. Going DOWN, not UP...... Peak demand for 2012 was 1,550 MW (lower than the 11 year average of 1,557 MW)........... More than 2.1 terawatts of Holyrood's "firm" energy capacity of 3 terawatts of energy was UNUSED. ... That 2.1 terawatts is more than the 2 terawatts (40%) of energy that Nalcor has convinced government that we need from Muskrat Falls. Island ratepayers will pay about $700 million a year (every year for 50 years) to pay for Muskrat power that we don't even need (Holyrood power for 2012 cost about $140 million --- more than $500 a year, every year, LESS THAN Muskrat Falls). See www.vision2041.com

  • Harvey
    April 27, 2013 - 11:36

    The gov't always screws up on priorities. Re...the RNC renovations, does Paul Davis' presence in cabinet play a part? I am sick, sick, sick of this bunch in gov't. How I wish they could be bumped immediately. ABC...can't wait.

  • Premier Dunderdale, you need to set up an Anti-Corruption Commission.
    April 27, 2013 - 10:37

    It is all orchestrated!!!! What makes sense in today's World to have such dramatic cost over-runs in a time when Unemployment and the debt of Countries are at their highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s? The economies of the Western World are still in a downward spiral. I will suggest that when the Politicians and the Corporate CEO's became so greedy and got their heads together to change the template of how Capitalism would be operated to serve them, that was the beginning of horribly gone-wrong Crony Capitalism or Uber Capitalism. If Newfoundlanders and Labradorians knew the names of those driving this corruption in their province, they would start a Revolution immediately. I have heard the names of a number of Prime Ministers of Canada and a number of former Premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador who are in on the resource developments that are now ongoing in our province and it is making me want to start that Revolution myself, since the only ones who will prosper are those driving the developments, the rest of us will suffer enormously. Of course there will be a few start-up jobs but that is where it will end when, after the developments are over, the resources are sent out of the province in a "raw state", then the jobs are gone to some other location forever. My message to Premier Dunderdale is to please set up an Anti-Corruption Squad to combat crony Capitalism, I suggest it will bring her up considerably in the polls, that is, of course, if the Corruption Squad does its job in an honest manner.

  • concerned taxpayer
    April 27, 2013 - 09:20

    Here you have the RNC given a raise ,a new signed contract and now almost 60 million to renovate and expand a building or buildings that were fine in the first place. Yet you have HMP falling apart in the middle of the city , a true eyesore . Unbeleiveable where governments priorities are . How about the old Waterford Hospital and the new Corner Brook hospital not even started yet ? ABC next election.

    • Ron
      April 28, 2013 - 12:18

      In response to concerned taxpayer, the RNC have a pay formula that takes into account police force contracts across the country. They weren't given a new contract, they were just the first to sit down, negotiate and sign this time. They may get a small raise but they just gave up their severance packages which at current rates would be about $35 000.00 at retirement. With regards to the new building, the RNC weren't just suddenly given 60 million dollars as you say, if you read the article, this has been ongoing since 2007 when the province was supposedly flush with cash

  • michelle
    April 27, 2013 - 08:21

    did the rnc office have to be renovated? did it pose danger to the staff? forgive me if i am wrong i thought we were in need of expansion and upgrade to our prison. why isn't this project downsized and controlled better. it would of been cheaper to get debbie travis to do a makeover. especially to do the confederation building. love it or list it, especially the pen that place should be our spca, not a prison.

  • My two cents
    April 27, 2013 - 08:20

    Watch out more layoffs coming.