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.
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“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.