The citizens of this municipality should be appalled.
In the case of the Hazeldean bridge, the city approved a design that could not support the weight of the span, let alone vehicles using it. Furthermore the people who should be in the know on this sort of problem only answer questions by email (so they say just what they want and are not burdened with tricky follow-up questions from journalists) and then are unavailable to comment when an embarrassing report is uncovered.
Journalist Glen Gower was told by the city no review existed on the problems at the Hazeldean bridge. So he tried municipal freedom of information and, sure enough, there was a damning report. The city (no let me correct that … OUR city, not the public servants’ nor the politicians’) denied there was a report most certainly because it would reveal horrible incompetence.
In other words, the City of Ottawa was withholding critical information from the public which pays for the City of Ottawa because the municipality screwed up. And not only was the information covered up, but information critical to the safety of the citizens of Ottawa was squelched. This from what is supposed to be a democracy. People could have been killed on the Hazeldean bridge had the bridge not done the right thing … sagged when no one was using it.
The safety of the people of Ottawa was taken into question.
So let’s review. The city made a horrible error and rather than reveal that mistake, it denied a report existed on the circumstances around that error. This is a gross abrogation of the responsibilities of public servants who knew about the error and the communications people who said the report did not exist.
The City of Ottawa was incompetent, hid that fact and tried to deceive the citizens of Ottawa.
Heads should roll.
It’s not so much the error, which is a pretty bad one, but the fact that the city lied about the fact that a report on that error did not exist. Such action shows why the people of Ottawa do not trust their municipal government.
We have seen bridges that don’t work and a light-rail project that costs three times as much as the cancelled plan at one-third the length. A plan that can’t afford to build the required number of light-rail stations downtown because these underground stations are too expensive to build. Rather than taking a train to their desired destination, riders will walk long distances to get to where they are going. A train with proper stations would be faster. A waste of $1.4 billion.
This is a city that did not conduct a ridership study of a $2.1-billion rail project. A government that plans a rail line where not one lives … the same line that is being tunnelled down a park.
And did we mention that the roof of the unnecessary light-rail tunnel collapsed during construction? Or that the roof leaked at the Lansdowne arena before millions of dollars of repairs were conducted on this showplace redevelopment and it leaks after millions of dollars of repairs. As well, the city spent tens of millions of dollars on Lansdowne with a contract that was supposed to have a top-end ceiling on cost but then the city ate the millions of dollars of repairs on the arena roof at Lansdowne … and it still leaks.
Now the taxpayers of Ottawa await money from the waterfall agreement at Lansdowne only to discover that the waterfall has dried up for the foreseeable future. The only successful civic waterfall is the liquid falling on the rink at Lansdowne Park.
What does the mayor of Ottawa do when bad news occurs? Does he lead? No, he turtles. Where was he when the roof collapsed on the light-rail project? Where was he when the roof leaked at Lansdowne?
The City of Ottawa lies, ignores, covers-up, patronizes and practices a kind of incompetence that is mind-wobbling. And it takes a journalist from a little newspaper in Stittsville to discover the Hazeldean mess.
The Bulldog website would call for the resignation of the two deputy city managers and the city manager but there aren’t any permanent executives in place in those roles.
Auditor general Ken Hughes must do a thorough audit of what occurred at Hazeldean bridge from the planning department to the procurement and the coverup. Who knew, who made mistakes and who denied the report existed.
The actions on the Hazeldean bridge should never be allowed to happen again. Was not the blistering incompetence at the Airport Parkway pedestrian bridge enough? In addition, we hope Hughes does the same thorough audit he plans on the Lansdowne project.
This is the corporate culture built by Mayor Jim Watson. The top guy is ultimately responsible and the Hazeldean incident is characteristic of that culture.
Despite the fear of being blacklisted by a mayor who didn’t like the message from this website in a previous instance, The Bulldog for a third time calls for the resignation of Mayor Jim Watson.
Incoming city manager Steve Kanellakos can’t get here soon enough.
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