Tewin: ‘The Perceived Optics Are Terrible’



Dan Stankovic is an Ottawa consultant and former municipal public servant in economic development and housing.

1. There is no reason Taggart can’t hire their own planners-consultants to undertake the required planning work which is the more “normal ” way of proceeding with private sector-initiated development proposals and planning approvals. Taggart has been in the residential subdivision-construction market in Ottawa for a long time and is more than capable of undertaking the complex planning approvals process.

2. Two full-time equivalent employees to work on the infrastructure master plan for the entire city but three FTE’s are required just for Tewin? Is there really enough to do for three senior staff to work only on the Tewin file five days a week and 7.5 hours each day for five-plus years?

3. According to the memorandum of understanding, Tewin can get specialized consultants who will work “on behalf of the city” but does not need the approval of the City of Ottawa on who they hire.

4. The city’s own Official Plan approved by Ottawa City Council in 2021 states that “annexes do not form part of this plan and are to provide information only for the reader” (page 4). Annex 12 does not therefore commit council to the staffing MOU and does not limit the ability of council to change its mind.

5. Annex 12 also states that a financial MOU is to be executed with Tewin. This has not been done even though the infrastructure master plan contains cost estimates for providing water and stormwater services to the urban expansion area which will be paid for by Tewin including through development charges.

6. Even if there is nothing improper or inappropriate, the perceived optics are horrible. A close working relationship between the city and the developer does raise serious concerns around maintaining public trust and values such as transparency and the protection of public interests. We only have to look at the aftermath of the LRT procurement process and Lansdowne revitalization to find examples of public mistrust.

2 Responses

  1. John Langstone says:

    With respect to the optics of this situation, does it not raise the question of a developer potentially directly or indirectly funding performance bonuses for planners? Who would set the standards for merit?

  2. Ron Benn says:

    Dan’s first point needs further examination from a business context.

    The agreement between Tewin and the city sets out how to calculate the costs to be covered (salary + benefits/pension contributions + overhead recovery). What it does not include is a ‘profit’ factor. What it doesn’t do is compare the cost/FTE to what a private sector business (e.g. FoTenn) would charge.

    I suspect, and would be delighted to have anyone challenge my conclusion with actual amounts, that the city is receiving well under what a private sector planning business (e.g. FoTenn) would charge. Just another example of the city getting its lunch eaten by a business. Another as in Lansdowne 1.0, 2.0; OrgaWorld …

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