Permit fees still in dispute as bridge work begins

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Placentia mayor says province refusing to negotiate

Though work has begun on the replacement of the Sir Ambrose Shea Lift Bridge, the mayor of Placentia says the battle is ongoing between the town and the provincial government over construction permits. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

A dispute is continuing between the provincial government and the Town of Placentia over municipal construction permits for the replacement of the Sir Ambrose Shea Lift Bridge.

Work crews have moved in to start the project, according to Placentia Mayor Bill Hogan.

However, he said Thursday, a meeting between staff of the Department of Transportation and Works and the town did not settle a standing disagreement over permit fees.

The mayor said a tentative agreement was reached between the representatives for both sides, but neither the town council or the provincial government ultimately moved from their fundamental positions.

“Our battle continues over the bridge,” he summarized.

The town has demanded about $400,000 for construction permits — to cover costs to the town associated with the replacement of the bridge.

Both the company awarded the tender for the project and the province have refused to pay.

In an email, Transportation and Works Minister Paul Davis confirmed the meeting between representatives for both sides had taken place.

He also said an offer was made by the province to look at the costs the town council is concerned about having to cover.

“Transportation and Works has asked the town to submit for consideration cost estimates for services they can provide related to the project,” the minister stated.

“Officials have not yet received this.”

Davis stated the province is not prepared to pay the fees being demanded by the town.

On the other side, Hogan said the town is not interested in “jumping through hoops” for its permit money.

“That’s all we would get was considered,” he said.

“When they’re vague and nebulous like that, you can’t trust them to do the right thing.”

Hogan said the town is still interested in talking through the issue, but is also willing to advance the dispute into the court system.

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 not commented on the permit flap.

Organizations: Department of Transportation and Works, O'Connell Construction

Geographic location: Placentia

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Recent comments

  • Steve
    May 15, 2013 - 08:37

    Mayor Hogan and his Council should be happy that the work is being done and the province and the rest of us taxpayers are footing the bill to have the bridge done. He should not bite the hand that feeds him.

  • Nick
    May 10, 2013 - 12:34

    Somebody comes to your house, renovate your kitchen and bathroom for you for free and you start demanding money from that person to fix your house. What kind of twisted logic is that?

  • California Pete from NFLD
    May 10, 2013 - 11:59

    Eminant domain, let the goverment build it

  • Francis
    May 10, 2013 - 11:16

    These permit fees are required everywhere else in Newfoundland and everywhere else in Canada. Why all of a sudden is it an issue? The answer is because in their minds its little old Placentia; a small bay municipality with small bay minds. HJ O'Connell is a big company and surely has faced this before, as has transportation and works. Frankly if a permit is not paid, its taking advantage of another small town. Its just not right. If you are not going to pay your fees, as you would everywhere else, then go to another gullible small town that will give you a free ride.

  • Don
    May 10, 2013 - 11:07

    Hogan is an idiot. The Province foots the 40.5 million dollar project and now Hogan wants them to pay $400,000 for permission to do so. This man (Hogan) is at least four sandwiches short of a banquet. I say to the Province, "Ignore this fool and soldier on."

  • roy
    May 10, 2013 - 10:24

    I say pull out let the town do the work on a 60-40, the prov. giving the town 60 percent,. Let them do the work and then it will be to their satisfaction, enough is enough if the govt gives in then they will have to pay every town when govt work takes place. This is the main hwy as is any other bridge in any other community or road etc. PULL OUT let them build their own bridge. There is another way to get around the Hr if there is no bridge then there will be no obstruction to boats.

  • Jay
    May 10, 2013 - 10:16

    Why is government putting up with this idiocy. This seems to be more about cheap publicity for the Placentia council and its Mayor Hogan than getting valuable infrastructure for the town. Of course, the Telegram is always willing to accommodate this clown.