The Sir Ambrose Shea Lift Bridge in Placentia. — File photo
A resolution is on the horizon for a dispute over municipal construction permits for the replacement of the Sir Ambrose Shea Lift Bridge in Placentia.
According to Placentia Mayor Bill Hogan, town and provincial government officials have been discussing the town’s needs in relation to the construction project, valued at more than $40 million.
The mayor said he now expects an agreement between the town and the provincial Department of Transportation and Works within a week, thanks to an offer to assist the town in dealing with the strains of the major project.
“We’re now dissecting, analyzing (it),” Hogan said. “I don’t like it, but I’m letting cooler heads prevail.”
He would not speak about the specifics of the tentative deal.
He said he is not making the final decision one way or the other, leaving it to other members of council.
“I’ll be governed by their recommendation,” he said.
As The Telegram reported beginning in late April, the town was expecting to receive payment for municipal construction permits to cover the replacement of the bridge.
While the permits would cost more than $400,000, Hogan said the town was willing to negotiate the price.
Both the company awarded the main construction contract — H.J. O’Connell Construction — and the province refused to pay any fees.
Transportation and Works Minister Paul Davis said there was no precedent for such a payment to a municipal government when work is undertaken on a provincial roadway or bridge.
As H.J. O’Connell began work on the bridge, Hogan again expressed the town’s dissatisfaction.
At that time, the province offered to consider the costs concerning the town — engineering consultants, services to site — and other impacts.
“That’s all we would get, was considered,” the mayor responded at the time.
In an email, Davis confirmed an approaching result from discussions between the province and the town.
“Officials with the Department of Transportation and Works have been working with town officials in Placentia to resolve differences around expenses anticipated for the town during the construction process,” Davis stated, “and we are optimistic that we will reach a mutual agreement very soon.”