Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Highways and Public Works about the long-delayed and overbudget F.H. Collins.
The government is ever-sensitive about the ever-escalating costs of this project, and it should be. Spending $6 million on a plan for a new school and then scrapping that design is expensive. Pretending that the plans for the new school are free and then paying a company from Alberta almost $1 million to change is also expensive.
The government is now trying to claim that renovations to the tech and trade wing are a separate project and that these costs shouldn’t be considered in replacing the school. The government knew that the tech and trade wing had to be upgraded, because the heat for the building comes from the existing F.H. Collins building which will be torn down. When you take away a building’s heating source, replacing it is part of the cost of finishing a project.
Will the minister admit that the renovations to the tech and trade wing should be considered part of the cost for rebuilding F.H. Collins school?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Highways and Public Works. The government has been claiming, with a straight face, that the F.H. Collins project is on time and on budget. The Yukon Party government of the day promised the school would be open in August of 2013, and the original budget was supposed to be $25 million. That budget is now well over $50 million and the minister admitted last week that it is going to be even higher with changes coming to the tech and trades wing.
In 2013, I asked the government to consider putting the trades and tech wing in the new school. The minister said he was open to that idea at the time and that it was worth considering. A government that does good planning would have looked at it and would have looked at what the cost would have been to upgrade the trades wing and compared it to the cost of building it right into the new school. On Thursday, the minister admitted that the government doesn’t have any cost figures at all, and in fact we are only now assessing what work needs to be done to upgrade the trades wing.
Why was this work not done before the decision was made not to include the trades wing in the new construction?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question about the new F.H. Collins Secondary School. When the government of Yukon decided to award the contract for construction of this school to an Alberta company, the minister said at that time — and I quote: “The final objective here was to tender a project that would create local jobs and promote economic activity.” Local companies told me at the time that they were quite worried with the decision to go with an outside contractor and that would probably result with very few local people getting hired. I did write the minister this fall to see if those concerns from those local companies had materialized.
Can the minister confirm that to date there have been only 29 Yukoners working on-site at the F.H. Collins replacement project?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Public Works. All this week I’ve been asking about this government’s inability to manage capital projects and the resulting public money that is wasted when this occurs.
At the top of the list of poorly managed projects is the new F.H. Collins. Last week, for the first time, Yukoners were finally given the full cost of the newly-redesigned school. It is interesting that it was never actually mentioned in the Premier’s one-hour and 47-minute budget speech, but it was contained in the background information released by this government.
Will the minister confirm for the public record that the complete budget for the newly-redesigned F.H. Collins School is now $51 million?Read more
Whitehorse: A $20 million increase in the cost of the new F.H. Collins school project tells the Yukon public all they need to know about the 2014-2015 budget released yesterday, says Liberal Leader Sandy Silver. Until today the government had maintained the cost of the project was only $31.1 million. Updated budget documents released yesterday put the real cost of replacing the school at $51.1 million.Read more
Hansard November 4, 2013
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Premier about this government’s financial mismanagement of the F.H. Collins project.
In March 2013, the Premier told Yukoners the government had two estimates that told them that the schools could be built for $38.6 million. In fact, the government had two estimates that told them the opposite. It even had an estimate that told them that it would cost $43.7 million. Despite knowing this, the government instructed public servants to disregard the higher numbers and kept the budget from contractors bidding on the new school at $38.6 million. One company alone spent $500,000 preparing a bid on the project the government knew was going to come in overbudget.
Why did the Premier instruct officials to use a lower number, a number it already knew was unrealistic?Read more
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. On March 11, 2013, the government told Yukoners a new design for F.H. Collins was being chosen and an old design was being scrapped. The decision was announced by the Premier and a news release said, and I quote: “The approved construction budget, as detailed by two separate independent estimators, was $38.6 million.”Read more
Question re: F.H. Collins Secondary School reconstruction
Mr. Silver: Last week the Government of Yukon announced an update on the F.H. Collins school project. The minister was pleased with media reports on Friday, including the story about a new design being chosen.
After spending at least $6 million on the project, the Yukon Party decided to start all over again in the spring. That money is already spent. I believe that the government made the wrong decision the first time around when it decided not to rebuild the tech and trades wing at the school. Unfortunately the media coverage from Friday confirms that the trade wing will not be rebuilt in the new school. I asked the minister on the second day of this spring sitting if he would consider including a new tech and trades wing in the new school. He replied at that time: “…the short answer to the member’s question is yes.” My question is why, or did he in fact change his mind?Read more
Question re: F.H. Collins Secondary School reconstruction
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I have some questions for the Minister of Highways and Public Works on some contracts related to F.H. Collins.
When the Premier announced he was pulling the plug on the old design of F.H. Collins, he said the approved construction budget, as detailed by two separate independent estimators, was $38.6 million. On the second day of this sitting, back on March 25, I asked the Premier to release those estimates so that the public could see whether or not they did, in fact, match the construction budget. He refused to answer.
Almost six weeks later, the government is still refusing to release those independent estimates. It is my understanding that these contracts were led by Highways and Public Works. Will the minister release these estimates so that the public can see whether or not they did, in fact, match the construction budget?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Education in regard to the reconstruction of F.H. Collins school. In regard to the handling of this project, there has been a great deal of well-deserved criticism directed at the government. After spending at least $6 million on this project, the Yukon Party decided just weeks ago to start all over again.
There is an opportunity to get it right this time. There is an opportunity to build a school that fits a community’s needs as opposed to one that fits an existing footprint. I believe the government made the wrong decision the first time around when it decided not to rebuild the tech and trades wing at the school. The government has essentially given itself a do-over.
Will the minister consider including a new tech and trades wing in the new F.H. Collins Secondary School?Read more