(Quebec) Quebec City was ordered to pay $ 2.3 million because it deliberately underestimated the excavation required for the expansion of the trade show center. A tactic that has cornered a contractor of the Bankruptcy region.
The bill for infrastructure expansion work located ExpoCité continues to add salt. Between 2006 and 2011, the project cost has already jumped from $ 23 million to $ 35 million. A prosecution related to the site swells the note.
In a ruling last week, the Superior Court challenging the “good faith” of the City of Québec in the drafting of its tender for the project. In 2009, it was listed as the excavation of contaminated soil and ash would be considered in the order of
35,000 cubic meters. However, the testimonies “strong percussive” of two representatives of the City itself, MM. Stéphane Le Roy and Louis Pageau, in court, showed that the city administration knew there would be many more.
One of them “frankly admits that the studies that Quebec City has in hand and which were not disclosed to bidders shows that beyond 84 000 cubic meters differ substantially from 35,000 cubic meters yet listed the list of the bidders, “says the judge Jacques G. Bouchard. The differences during construction, according to the different soil types vary from 25% to 1200%.
In argument, the City argued that it was the responsibility of the general contractor, the firm Aecon and its subcontractor excavation, Company Martin Labrecque, to properly evaluate the work to be done and to bid consequence.
“If Quebec City had been transparent with bidders, including Aecon, the information then available would have allowed it to adjust its prices accordingly,” says the magistrate.
When the City stopped paying Aecon for additional excavation work, the firm has continued for some time to reward Company Martin Labrecque to avoid paralysis of the yard and prosecutions that might ensue. But the excavation contractor has nevertheless ended up with $ 2.5 million unpaid once the work is completed.
Entangled in this legal chicanery since 2011, Mr. Labrecque was forced to close shop and “personally threatened with bankruptcy.” “Before this project, notes the Justice Bouchard, the situation of this company was healthy. This dispute with Aecon and the City of Quebec has however placed in serious trouble. ”
Mr. Labrecque was questioned for several days on invoicing during the trial. “His answers were always clear, precise, spontaneous, said the magistrate. His honesty and credibility are beyond doubt. “In contrast, the imprecision of the analysis of a representative of the City” certainly not assume the level of reliability required to satisfy the Tribunal lend credence to it ” .
It was not possible Monday to meet with Mr. Labrecque or lawyers who defended his record.
Quebec City is ordered to compensate Aecon, which must do the same with Mr. Labrecque. Spokesman David O’Brien said Monday that the City take the time to analyze the judgment and has no further comment at this time.
The judgment does not end the saga of the trade show center. The general contractor Aecon has also filed a lawsuit against $ 17 million in Quebec City in connection with this site.
The City and the governments of Quebec and Canada have shared the bill of the project.