By David F. Rooney
With Mayor Mark McKee out of town, official City Hall comment is coming from Acting Mayor Trevor English. And real comment, he said Tuesday morning, is something he cannot utter.
“There are many things I would like to comment on but as this matter (a law suit filed in BC Supreme Court by Gateway inn owner William Zhao) is now before the courts I have no comment,” he told The Current in an e-mail.
“With respect to the others threatening legal action (hotel owners Sam Cho of the Days Inn and Dean and Kathleen Leman of the Monashee Lodge), again, it is probably better to say that because of those threats the City will make no comment but it is working with the contractor to minimize the impacts of the works on businesses in the area.”
That doesn’t mean he had nothing to say. English, who is standing in for McKee who is in Montana, did have, as Acting Mayor, a few things to say in response to a couple of more specific questions from The Current.
“To provide some more detail regarding the civil claim, the matter is in the hands of the City’s insurers and legal advisors and it will respond to the notice of claim in due course,” he said. “Once that response is filed with the court it will be accessible through it. I am not a lawyer and wouldn’t even begin to hypothesize about the likely outcome of this action or the merits of the claim.”
I asked the Acting Mayor, “Whose responsibility is it to notify residents and businesses when City projects have an impact on their property and livelihoods? Should the City have made that notification or the contractor?”
Here’s his lengthy response:
In response to your question(s) let me give you some details regarding the timeline for approval of this project and the commencement of construction. While Council approved the tender award on July 26 the Master Municipal Construction Documents Unit Price Contract for the work was not completed and executed until August 8. It would have been inadvisable to provide notice of project commencement prior to that. I agree, notice was short, but with the construction schedule indicating approximately 70 days of work we are approaching November if all goes as planned. In order to ensure a successful project it needs to be built when the weather is somewhat warm in order to allow concrete to cure and asphalt to be properly applied. I can’t say whether or not the response of some area businesses would have been much different if more notice was provided or if it would have only provided more time to try and delay construction to some later time threatening successful completion of the project. The last thing we want is a partially completed project when winter sets in. Given the tight turnaround on the contract being signed and need to commence the work it was left to the contractor to notify area businesses. We understand the business owners’ concerns and we are doing everything possible to minimize the disruption that the project creates.”
Dean Leman, one of the three hoteliers on Wright Street who say they are directly affected by the roundabout that Speers Construction began building on Monday, August 15, said he was visited by a Speers official on Tuesday. This is the first one he says he has seen since he was notified on late Friday afternoon that construction of the roundabout would begin three days later on Monday morning.
Leman and fellow complainant Sam Cho are also contemplating separate lawsuits.
The following list of links will take your to stories, videos, photos and links to relevant documents regarding the roundabout issue. You can access additional material, including letters to the editor, by entering the search term ’roundabout’ in the search field on the right-hand side of your screen.
Click here to read:
- a March 3 story regarding the City’s Open House on the roundabout project.
- a May 9 story about Council’s decision to fix the Nightmare on Victoria Road.
- a May 29 story about Council’s further discussion about how to proceed.
- a June 17 story about even more Council discussion about the traffic circle.
- a June 24 interview wityh Highways and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone confirming that the province will pick up a major piece of the tab for improvements to the Victoria Road intersection with the Trans-Canada Highway, including the roundabout.
- a July 7 story (see the last paragraph) noting that Council agrees with a consultant’s proposal to commence with the roundabout this fall and complete — next year — the rest of a suite of proposed changes to the turns into the McDonalds-A&W-Starbucks and Tim Hortons-Shell-Super 8-Motel.
- a July 28 story about Council’s decision to award the roundabout construction project to Speers Construction.
- an August 14 story about the three hoteliers’ anger at the construction project’s short notice.
- an August 15 story about Gateway Inn owner William Zhao’s lawsuit against the City of Revelstoke.