Labrador paving project over budget

James McLeod
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The controversial Trans-Labrador Highway contract associated with premier-designate Frank Coleman won’t come in on time, or on budget, but Transportation Minister Nick McGrath said it’ll be close.

Officials with Transportation and Works spent half an hour briefing the media, stressing that disruptions in the paving schedule was an “act of God” due to forest fires.

McGrath announced that Pavex will do the 60 kilometres of paving, along with several other road work jobs in Labrador. The total cost will be $37.2 million.

The portion of the job that’s associated with the Humber Valley Paving contract of last year will cost $9.5 million, which is around $1.5 million more than originally expected.

McGrath said he believes the government couldn’t have gotten it done any cheaper; in effect, the extra $1.5 million is just the cost of the forest fires.

Coleman was owner of Humber Valley Paving until around the time that he jumped into politics. He will become the next leader of the PC party and the premier of the province in a few weeks.

Humber Valley Paving was let out of the original money-losing contract after Coleman’s son, Gene Coleman, called McGrath and talked about it with him.

Geographic location: Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Torey Nomore
    June 12, 2014 - 10:26

    Premier Coleman, do the honorable thing: should man up, take ownership of the issue and write a cheque rather than have taxpayers pick up the tab. Lack of accountability and credibility; reasons number 572,971 that I cannot vote Tory no-more.

  • Taxpayer
    June 11, 2014 - 21:53

    Trying to make the fire more important ...Mr. McGrath just sounds more desperate every word he says. The taxpayer and unpaid suppliers are the victims here.

  • Grace
    June 11, 2014 - 20:01

    Taxpayer getting hit again by Mr. McGraths mistake , next premier Frank Coleman getting richer. The unpaid supplies still not paid and HVP not hiring back there workers. Not looking good for the incoming premier. The ironic thing about this is that the AG report will actually be presented to Premier Coleman ( what a story this will make)

  • W Bagg
    June 11, 2014 - 19:07

    I wonder if there will be any whistle blowers come forth on this one

  • Maggy Carter
    June 11, 2014 - 13:51

    O.K., so I think I see your strategy here Mr. McGrath and I've got to hand it to you. It's pretty clever. If your department had re-tendered just the work Premier Coleman's company failed to complete, then of course the true incremental cost to the taxpayer would be obvious. My guess is that, on a stand-alone bid basis, it would have been a heck of a lot more than $9.5 million. But by including that work in an omnibus contract worth four times that amount, it becomes a lot easier to fudge the numbers. I know if I was a road builder, I'd be able to read the tea leaves. No skin off my nose if I lower the price on Part A, and pick it up on Parts B, C & D. The AG might want to take a very close look at how this tender was put together - the specs and the other bids. It wouldn't be difficult for someone with experience in this type of contract to pick out any anomalies. However Mr. McGrath wants to cut it - and clearly the motive here is to protect the party leader - this only adds to the stink of this entire mess. You also have to wonder how it fits with this government's supposed new policy of openness and transparency. A minister of the crown genuinely committed to transparency would have instructed his officials to separately re-tender the work left unfinished by Humber Valley Paving so there could be no question as to its final cost. Does it surprise anyone that Mr. McGrath went the other route?