By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday, June 24, 2014
City wants to push ahead with Randle Reef work
Mayor Bob Bratina says Randle Reef project partners are searching for a way to begin work this year despite delays caused by over-budget construction bids.
Environment Canada recently revealed all construction bids have come in over budget for the first stage of the $138.9-million project to trap more than a million tonnes of coal tar sludge in Hamilton Harbour.
Work on building a steel-walled containment facility was supposed to start this spring, but may now be put off until sometime next year.
Bratina said he and city manager Chris Murray met with federal officials over the weekend and confirmed “absolute support” for the project, including the contentious decision to contain rather than dig up the pollution.
He said federal officials are also convinced the $139-million budget for the project is on target, despite “significant” budget overruns from all bidders.
Federal officials will meet with bidders in July to go over the disparities in detail.
But in the meantime, Bratina said the city and other project partners are keen to “push ahead” on some aspect of the stalled project this year, if possible.
He conceded any decision to hive off a portion of the project would need federal approval, but expressed hope more options would come out of talks with bidders next month.
“We really need to show the public that our commitment is there and we’re willing to start the project and deal with disparities as we go along.” (Source: Hamilton Spectator)