Time to ask why Kiewit keeps getting the bids.. even when things go wrong. A story within a story.

Yes, I say it is time to start putting toll booths on the Sea to Sky highway, especially considering this new lawsuit BC Hydro and BC Transmission Corporation filed against Peter Kiewit and Sons – the contractor who built and maintains the splashy new drive.  The Vancouver Sun has the story tonight :  http://www.vancouversun.com/Hydro+BCTC+suing+highway+contractor/2088312/story.html

BC Hydro and BC Transmission Corporation claim they are owed almost $400,000 by road contractor Peter Kiewit Sons for consultation services provided on the Sea to Sky Highway construction project.

In a summons filed this week in B.C. Supreme Court, Hydro and BCTC allege that Kiewit agreed to pay the Crown-owned utilities’ costs to monitor the Sea to Sky Highway 99 expansion project in proximity to high voltage transmission lines between West Vancouver and Whistler.

Sure, why shouldn’t  the province install some toll booths over there? After all, isn’t that our money BC Hydro is using to file the writ and duke it out in court? Legal proceeding in Supreme court are very costly, unless they come to a settlement within a short time. Seems to me, that with all that expected traffic heading out towards Whistler over the next few months, it just might be the way to recover costs -and then some! Heck, I bet the tolls on that highway alone, could pay for the Port Mann bridge too, thereby saving valley residents that added and unaffordable twice daily charge.

It was October 2008 when I first called for tolls on that highway, and highlighted the inequity of the failure to pay for that highway improvement project through tolls, as compared to other projects .  I still feel the same way.

Gregor Robertson, mayor of Vancouver , has since put forth that very same idea.

Here’s an excerpt of my blog post   from last October :

As a taxpayer in the province of BC, I have a question for the transportation minister, Kevin Falcon, and our Premier Gordon Campbell.

The Golden Ears Bridge project costs $800 million  and will be a toll bridge to cover costs.

The Port Mann Twinning project will cost  $1. 5 billion, and again, will be a toll bridge to cover costs. ( note: this was the original cost the province announced -LY)

The new Patullo Bridge project - cost unknown but guaranteed mega$$$$$- already is planned to be another toll bridge.

THE SEA TO SKY HIGHWAY PROJECT – $ 600 miliion dollars – or more – NO TOLLS.

Those toll booths on the Patullo, Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges will be faced directly by residents of Surrey and Langley – and it hardly seems fair. Both the Sea-to-Sky highway and the new Kelowna bridge, as well as the Pitt River Bridge (part of the province’s Gateway program), are all TOLL FREE.

My question to Premier Gordon Campbell ? Why is that very expensive Sea to Sky highway toll free ? Why are some of us getting dinged up to three times to get from the suburbs to our work locations, and yet all the millions of people who drive up to Whistler all summer, and every winter get to do so for free? Put those toll boths on that highway, now!

Now, what makes this news story about the law suit soooo interesting to me, is that  Peter Kiewit and Sons are also one half of the joint venture contract team charged with building the Port Mann Bridge project. Originally that project was deemed to be a P3 venture, but after the contractors financing tanked, the province decided to keep them anyways and do the bridge as a public project.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wondered why the province would keep a contractor(s) whose failed to meet the financial terms of the contract. In other industries, a failure to meet those terms would have resulted in the contractor being dis-qualified and the next highest bidder would have been given the opportunity. Makes sense, right? You don’t need to be a road builder, or a CEO to get that concept.

But in this case?

No. Didn’t happen- the province instead made the Port Mann Bridge build a public project and kept the contractor(s) who couldn’t ante up the money for a successful P3 .

Ironically, their failure to get financing is a good thing for the people of BC, because it actually saves the government some money as a public project!  Kevin Falcon, transportation minister at the time, even admitted that the government can get lower financing rates than a private contractor could: http://www.theprovince.com/news/Port+Mann+bridge+will+finished+year+ahead+schedule/1507622/story.html

The government will build the bridge as a public project rather than a public-private partnership, as originally planned.The about-face will save about $200 million, in part because the government can get lower financing rates than a private partner could,Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon said….

Capital cost of the project, which includes the widening of 37 kilometres of Highway 1, is estimated at $2.46 billion. Total costs, including operations and maintenance, had been expected to be $3.3 billion, but Falcon said it will be closer to $3.1 billion, partly because the government can get financing at lower rates than a P3 could…

( umm… if the government gets lower financing rates, then why do a P3 project at all? )

Now, the contractor on the Sea to Sky highway, Peter Kiewit and Sons, is being sued in Supreme Court by  BC Hydro and BCTC.

That same contractor – who allegedly failed to pay a pretty big bill submitted by those public utilities – was kept on by the BC government to build the Port Mann project….despite the fact their financing fell through last year..

Talk about ‘Things that make you go HMMMMM’…

The whole scenario drew me back to a letter I received from a rather knowledgable reader recently, one that I’ve been mulling over for some time because of the nature of the contents.

Here is the letter, with links inserted by myself where I think it to be appropriate. I think it raises some valid questions about the Port Mann Bridge project, especially in light of the news regarding the BC Hydro/ Peter Kiewit lawsuit :

‘Morning Laila,

 

I don’t know how familiar you are with the Province’s highway construction programme, but I’ll assume you know nothing and lead up to my most recent peeve.

 In the ‘good old days’, before P3’s, when the Province wanted to build a road or bridge, they designed the work, put it out for tender and the lowest qualified bidder was awarded and built the work.  Any contractor that had the financial wherewithall, as determined by his bonding company, was ‘qualified’ and entitled to bid on the work, often resulting in 15 or so  bidders. 

 The process was known as Design/Bid/Build.  The Province provided the Design, often a Bill of Quantities to ensure that all were bidding with the same parameters, and often made available certain materials, such as gravel and asphalt oil, to reduce the risk and level the playing field.

 Under the recently developed P3 process, when the Province decided to build a road or bridge they invited ‘Expressions of Interest’ from (presumably) these same contractors.

However, the projects were usually considerably larger resulting in fewer contractors that could meet the financial qualifications. 

 Those that could, and considered the risks warranted it, submitted their expression of interest. from which the Province (by some method unknown to most) selected 3 contractors that would be permitted to Design/Build/Finance/Operate the said works (DBFO). 

 A rigid set of parameters would be provided to those three (the rest being left in the dark as to why their expressions weren’t considered) that outlined the extent of the work and the specifications that were to be adhered to.  The Port Mann project, for example, defined the start and end locations, the number and location of the additional lanes, bridge location, Highways Specifications and offered a number of Provincial owned gravel sources.

 The chosen three were then responsible to design and price the work. 

  The results were assessed by some unknown agency and the work awarded by some unknown process to one of the three. 

 The difference between the ‘G.O.D’ and the ‘P3′ is that the contractor, instead of the Province, was responsible for the Design.  Fair enough, but it increased the risk to the Contractor and Contractors don’t take risks without charging for them

 Furthermore, the ‘successful’ Contractor (Contractors are ‘successful’ only when they make a Profit – not just because they have ‘won’ a Contract) was charged with Financing the work, and Contractors also charge for Financing – usually at a rate considerably more than the rate that Provinces charge!

 Anyway, let’s assume that the Port Mann project was awarded to Kiewit by a knowledgable ‘unknown agency’ and that it was done so on a fair and equitable basis without any bias. (Is that a fair assumption? – I don’t know!!) 

 As we all know, the wheels fell off Kiewit’s Financial Organ, not once but twice. ( here is where I find this letter so compelling – L.Y.)

 Under the old scenario, the Province would have confiscated their 10% Bid Bond and awarded the work to the next lowest bidder

 In this case however, the (almost-broke) Provincial Government undertook to provide at first one billion dollars financing, which they later increased to three billion. 

 This begs the question: where in the recently revised from deficit 498 million to deficit +/- 4 billion dollars budget does this show up? 

  The bigger question is: How much did Kiewit lower the cost to the taxpayer for this huge reduction in Risk/Cost?  Perhaps we’ll never know!

  We’ll certainly never know how much the other two proponents would have reduced their price if they had not been required to provide financing!!

 Now we’ll get to the part on which my peeve is predicated. 

 Remember, I said that as well as listing parameters such as length of project and the number of additional lanes required, the Province had  also named some gravel resources that the contractor could avail himself of.

 One of these was a Provincial owned pit at 248th Avenue in Langley.  Access was directly off the freeway.  The Contractor could haul excess material (mud, topsoil, deleterious material etc) off the construction site and return with good gravel to build embankments and pavement structure.  There were a number of other sources made available, but none offered such convenient access and quality material.  Its only natural to assume that all three contractors availed themselves of this resource in preparing and costing the work, as they were entitled to. ( I did a little digging, and found a couple of stories referring to a provincial owned pit in that area, that residents fought against re-opening,for fears of digging harming their well water  supply, and generally being a nuisance during the construction of the bridge- LY -http://www.livableregion.ca/blog/blogs/index.php/2009/01/22/aldergrove_council_opposes_gravel_mine_i )

 Allegedly, this resource has been withdrawn and I’m told that Kiewit has had to make other plans for wasting excess material and sourcing gravel.

  I wonder how much this is adding to the ‘Lump Sum Contract’ under ‘Changed Conditions’?  Is it reasonable to expect an explanation?

 

Well, I would think it should be quite reasonable to expect an explanation for all your questions, my friend, and perhaps our transportation minister could help us out with that. I’ll be forwarding her a copy of this post to see if, and how she responds.
As for me, I think this  BC Hydro/ Kiewit story was the best news I’ve ever seen the government release late on a Friday night- on a Thanksgiving long weekend to boot.  Don’t choke on that turkey now, Gordie…
*****UPDATE Saturday October 10th, 2009
 
Being who I am, instead of getting to my pre-Thanksgiving preparations this morning, I kept thinking about Peter Kiewit and Sons. I really don’t know that much about them and was starting to look around and see what I could find, when a little birdie put a bug in my ear.
 
When I Google Peter Kiewit Sons Inc, this is the type of search result you get: http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=Peter+Kiewit+Sons+Inc&meta=
 
Of course, first up is the company site, then related sites, then news items etc. Nothing special. I tried the company site About page, and oddly enough, none of the links loaded. I tried several times from different search engines, but to no avail, so I don’t know if this is my computer issue, or they have removed all of that information. Give it a try yourself.
 
On the advice of the little birdie, I then googled  ” Peter Kiewit + Bid Rigging”, which brings up an entirely different side of Peter Kiewit information that you won’t be finding on their corporate website anytime soon. http://www.google.ca/search?q=Peter+Kiewit+%2B+Bid+Rigging&btnG=Search&hl=en&sa=2
 
Links like this one: a scan of a newspaper article:
Or this one- insert search term ‘ Peter Kiewit” in the search box on that page to get right to the pertinant section:
And this one:
However, the most explosive link of them all, is this one for where it leads – scroll to page 21 : http://www.scribd.com/doc/20327524/Electronic-Voting-Monopoly-and-its-potential-abuse
And so. There are numerous scans, filings and documents available online to substantiate the bid rigging allegations from the US.
Interesting enough, the author of this letter, Bev Harris, also authored this link : http://www.blackboxvoting.org/bbv_chapter-8.pdf
 where if you enter the name Peter Kiewit into the  PDF search box, it takes you to page 5, for her complete history on the company and the allegations and charges against it over the years.
Interesting, is it not?

**Update: The reason there are no tolls on the sea to sky highway, is because there is a hidden toll the government pays on our behalf to the builder, already installed in the contract. Read the entire series here on the Best of page: scroll down to the Sea to Sky Shadow Toll series http://lailayuile.com/best-of/

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36 Responses to Time to ask why Kiewit keeps getting the bids.. even when things go wrong. A story within a story.

  1. Harv says:

    Obviously you are unaware that BCTC routinely triple charges for work, and that any other outfit would have cost 1/3 ($133,000) of that amount.

    You don’t apparently understand how big business government works.

    Neither do you understand that BCTC would not allow PKS to use others to monitor.

    Harv

    Like

  2. Laila says:

    Wow, breaking news, government overcharging for services.

    I’d like to see that defence used in a court room, and if successful, what a precedent it would set!

    ” We were forced to take these services, and then overcharged for them”

    We could all use it to avoid paying our vehicle insurance, since it’s being forced on us and it costs far too much. Same to be said for BC Medical.

    I also know that stipulating certain suppliers, or conditions, or what have you, is also common in contracts, so the only thing remarkable that stands out for me is that you seem to know some details that I, and others are not aware of. Do share and educate us non -‘ big business government’ types.

    I’m just asking some questions and pointing out some interesting links….

    Like

  3. Harv says:

    You didn’t read my comment properly. BCTC does not allow other monitors to do the job and provide competition. BCTC locks them out. If you ever took economics in college instead of gender studies, you would know that competition reduces prices. BCTC is a bloated organization with huge salaries and costs and overhead. Lot of wastage. Since BCTC controls the lines, they did not allow any other monitor but themselves!

    “Stipulating certain suppliers in contract is standard”. Obviously you have not been in the private sector to be commenting on this. You are unknowledgable. In the private sector nobody can stipulate the subtrade, because that will increase the cost. So if that is forced upon an operator, the operator will add the cost increment to the contractor’s bid, and most likely the contractor will lose out. Only in government-land there is “freeloading”.

    When will you artsy types learn how the world works?

    What did you study in university and have you ever held a meaningful job?

    Like

  4. BC Mary says:

    Competition reduces prices, Merciful Heaven, what a ridiculous statement!

    If one person can do the job, let’s get 2 people to do it — it will create competition and reduce prices!

    Who is this troll? … and why is he pretending to be “Harv” … ?

    Like

  5. Harv1 says:

    Heh – what an illiterate you are BC Mary.

    Have you ever shopped around (yes I have to bring this debate to your low level)? That is called competition among suppliers. You will always find a better price if you shop around. Otherwise the single supplier will raise its price until you go broke. Duh!!!

    Now you go and get a book on markets and economics instead of posting drivel. Or go shop for a handbag.

    Why are you socialists such illiterates on economics?

    Like

  6. John'saghast says:

    I wouldn’t dignify “Harv’s’ diatribe with a response of any kind. You are much too kind to him (it). Great article! Go get ‘em Tiger.

    Like

  7. Norman Farrell says:

    If the troll wants to learn about competition in the real world, he can look here:

    http://www.hausfeldllp.com/pages/practice_areas/antitrust

    This international law firm doesn’t do much work in Canada opposing business corruption. Nobody does. Big business has the laws as weak as they need.

    Like

  8. Norman Farrell says:

    One of the great American radio programs is available by weekly podcast. If you want to here an interesting true story about international price fixing, listen here:

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=168

    There is a Vancouver connection. Listen to the wire taps while the criminals discuss meeting in Vancouver but show they are frightened to hold their next meeting in the USA because American laws are too tough. Good old Canada, welcoming International criminals, er… businessmen.

    Like

  9. Great work Laila, the price of construction of the sea to sky highway isn`t where the major theft is occuring, the build cost..800 million to 1 billion dollars but…………..
    That is peanuts……The total cost of this project is 3.5 billion dollar range….That`s right, 3.5 billion….How this contract is structured is this….Kiewet and MacQuarie group…and Capilano Road services have to maintain that highway for 25 years…..

    So unless the mountain falls on it (and there is a natural disaster clause,get out of jail free card) …So the consortium who maintains this highway get paid roughly 100 million$ dollars per year for 25 years to maintain the road…..

    Well, I am no mathametician but….even I can figure out that 2.5 billion $ dollars (the remaining balance of the contract after the build costs) ….over 25 years is 100$ million per year….or 8.3 million$ per month….or 277.000.00 $ per day,everyday, 365 days per year, for 25 years……..Now that is sick….That is where the theft is occuring…..(You can read my take on it here)

    http://powellriverpersuader.blogspot.com/2009/08/what-is-true-cost-of-sea-to-sky-highway.html

    Cheers-Eyes Wide Open

    Like

  10. Henri Paul says:

    ” my son Sal says” Yes, its highway robbery that is taking place here.

    Like

  11. John'saghast says:

    Well Spoken Grant G. I wish I could meet you. You are the only voice I’ve encountered that really knows the score (besides me) and is calling it like it is. Indubitably there are others who choose not to speak up – call it conflict of interest, or whatever.

    Like

  12. Laila says:

    So right you are, Grant and that’s a great link ! Thanks for bringing that into this stream.

    Getting back to Kiewit and the Port Mann though,I still can’t understand why the province would continue with companies who couldn’t fulfill their financial end of the agreement.

    I’ve really been interested in Kiewit for a bit. It started with the Sea to Sky, ramped up with this Port Mann job, and of course, don’t forget the Cloudworks Energy job they have- you know, the good old run of the river projects. Remember this?


    If you would like to see some photos of what this ‘clean’ energy source being built looks like, check out this link, and all the other galleries. Looks anything but green to me. Destruction all around.

    So many questions, and no answers. How does this company get so many lucrative jobs in the province of BC ? How did this group retain the deal with the Province for the Port Mann after losing it’s financial backer?

    Interesting enough, it is worth noting that nearly every transportation project built in BC under the P-3 format (virtually every major job in Gordie years) has been performed by foreign and out of BC corporations!

    The list includes:
    —Sea-to-sky highway
    —Kicking-horse bridge and highway
    —Kelowna bridge
    —RAV
    —Port Mann bridge and highway
    —Golden Ears bridge and approaches
    —Bridgeport bridge and approaches to YVR
    —Lions Gate bridge rebuild (this was an NDP gerrymander)

    The primary players for the design, financing and construction of all of this work were:

    —SNC – Quebec
    —Kiewit – USA
    —McQuarie – Australia
    —Flat Iron – USA
    —Bilfinger Burger – Germany

    Other than some minor scraps tossed out, none of the work was performed by local contractors.

    For now, see these other interesting links.

    http://corruptiondetails.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html

    No reponse from Shirley Bonds office as of yet.

    Sal, you should just get your son to post directly! Might be nice to hear it from the horses mouth, so to speak.

    Like

  13. The answer is simple Laila..Money….Palm Grease……..

    Party donations and other IFFY incentives….

    Kiewet and company…..The sea to sky highway,the Pitt river bridge both endedabout the same time ,time to move your friends to a new construction job….It appears that the Campbell administration is interested in only keeping the “same good old boysworking from Kiewet”

    Keiwet does next to none in the way of local contracting, they own their own heavy equipment……

    The part the kills me is this, the existing Port Mann bridge is good for at least 60 more years…Google up port mann upgrades under Glen Clark…Clark spent almost 100 million upgrading that bridge in 1998–1999….

    The cost to tear down that perfectly good bridge is over 300 million $…..

    The bridge was built in the 60s…The lionsgate was buily in the 30s….When I questioned Falcon on that fact he responded….”The lionsgate will be good for at least 50 more years”….Check out the age of the Granville bridge….Burrard bridge….heck,even the Pattullo bridge is older….

    The whole deal is a fraud from top to bottom.

    The province hasn`t even done an assessment of the lifespan of the port mann,well,actually they probably have,good luck trying to find it.

    By the way Laila….The Macquarie group(The australian millionaires bank) is the Generall manager of the sea to sky highway….

    I asked Kevin Falcon about the connection with Macquarie and Keiwet, this was at the time Macquarie`s finance`s went down the toilet….

    I asked Falcon,why doesn`t Macquarie have the money for the new Port Mann considering they are the general manager and partner of the sea to sky upgrade…Falcon said “Macquarie isn`t the general manager, let me scratch my head, I`m 99% sure Macquarie isn`t involved in the sea to sky”

    Two weeks later I threw the smoking gun back at Falcon on the Sean Leslie show, Falcon freaked out and said ” I can`t be expected to remember who`s working on what project”

    Maybe the picture I sent Falcon of him,with the head honcho of Macquarie and Kiewet doing a photo-op advertising the sea to sky highway jogged his memory!

    Laila,the tentacles are everywhere, the corruption is rampant.
    Cheers

    Like

  14. Lynn says:

    ….speaking of tentacles, Macquarie was also partnered with Omnitrax in that bid to buy BC Rail.

    Like

  15. salvatore bennedetto says:

    I asked him to a few times but he is not interested. Says hes to busy. Its hard enough to get him to help me find stuff and then he will say things at the time. Smart kid though, IQ of 147.

    Like

  16. Laila says:

    Well, sorry for the uncustomary silence on my part everyone. I’ve been here watching, but until today, not able to write because of a hand injury. More accurately,the fingers on my right hand which are sprained or jammed or something that has turned them swollen and limited my ability to do much.

    Lucky man you are Sal. Woe is the parent whose kids abandon them!

    I must say, that I’ve been watching the stats for this post, and I find it remarkable that with the number of views it has received in North America, there are so few comments. It’s odd. It’s so quiet, and yet this post is so very busy.In fact,it is now the most viewed post of any I have ever written since the beginning of this site. Yet all this quiet.

    Lynn, speaking of Macquarie, I ran their name through the BC Lobbyist registry to see if they had anyone currently working for them,or if they had any lobbyists in the past, and one familiar name came up: Mark Jiles. From September 2008 to February 2009, Mark Jiles was listed as the lobbyist for Macquarie North America, to promote P3’s and the Gateway Project! Here is the information listed on the registry:
    Lobbyist: Jiles,Mark Consultant Lobbyist
    Lobbyist Organization: Macquarie North America Inc.
    Topic: Transportation Active Start: 2008-SEP-01
    Subject Matter To promote P3’s and the Gateway Project End: 2009-FEB-19

    MLA’s and Staff Contacted
    MLA Title
    Hon. Ida Chong Minister of Technology, Trade and Economic Development and Minister Responsible for the Asia-Pacific Initiative
    Hon. Kevin Krueger Minister of Small Business and Revenue and Minister Responsible for Deregulation
    Hon. Barry Penner Minister of Environment and Minister responsible for Water Stewarship and Sustainable Communities
    Hon. Michael de Jong Minister of Aboriginal Relations & Reconciliation and Govt. House Leader
    Hon. Joan McIntyre Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations
    Carole Taylor
    Hon. Kevin Falcon Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
    Hon. Iain Black Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services
    Hon. Colin Hansen Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the Olympics
    Hon. Rich Coleman Minister of Housing and Social Development

    Agencies Contacted:
    Agency
    Member of Legislative Assembly
    Partnerships BC Inc.
    Transportation

    Of course, the name Mark Jiles is one that comes up often when talking about government lobbying activities

    On another Port Mann related story, I hear that the price of the bridge just went up by about 4 million.

    Like

  17. salvatore bennedetto says:

    My kid rented me a movie called enemy of the state with Wil Smith. Now that I saw that movie I can picture all the electronic stuff going on with your blog. So the question is apparently are you paranoid enough?

    Like

  18. Laila says:

    Paranoid doesn’t play into it, Sal.

    Most blog hosts provide a daily accounting of statistics, including incoming referring links, google search terms, most viewed posts etc, IP addresses of visitors and people who leave comments. For the most part, no one really cares, except to see how may people are coming and from what link.

    There is a lot of other software bloggers use to track statistics so you can figure out where the majority of your visitors are from, and what they are responding to. I think for bloggers who run advertisements, this is helpful. For me, I only make note of IP addresses when I get threatened, or something similar.

    Of course, it is always fun to see how many government IP addresses read daily, and from what ministry.

    Like

  19. RossK says:

    At this point, it is worth noting that Mr. Jile’s partner in progressiveness is a very fine fellow named Patrick Kinsella.

    Hey!

    Didn’t the good Mr. Kinsella once work for BC Rail?

    Why yes.

    I believe he did.

    .

    Like

  20. John'saghast says:

    Laila: Re the land deal. Of course it was included in the original price. Kiewit chose to alter the original specifications (which called for another 5 lane span downstream of the existing bridge) so they obviously included for any costs associated with their change in their proposal. They may be ‘opportunist’ but even they would not stoop to that level.

    Like

  21. salvatore bennedetto says:

    Must have a lot of fans in the govt. Its only the politicians that change, the bureacrats are there forever. I always wondered who really runs the government, the bureacrats or the politicians. My money is on the bureacrats. So that is my tax dollars being spent reading up news in your blog instead of tending to business. I guess you can play a bit of big brother and know what times that they come and how long they stay. That would be interesting to the public I bet. How about some facts?

    Like

  22. Henri Paul says:

    Laila , hows that injured hand of yours doing?

    Like

  23. Janet says:

    Hi everyone,

    A friend of Laila’s here to let you know that she is currently working on an intense assignment that landed on her desk unexpectedly last week, and so she will be unable to access and answer emails, or post blogs until Monday, October 26th.

    Like

  24. BC Mary says:

    Wow! Janet, that news is so welcome!!

    Thank you, thank you!

    Whew!

    Like

  25. Leah says:

    Thank you Janet!! That means I don’t have to send my 7 dwarfs to see what she’s up to! Looking forward to seeing you when you’re back Laila!

    Like

  26. Gary L. says:

    A little off Topic folks, but I hope that all is well in Laila’s world. It’s been awhile…………..

    Like

  27. Leah says:

    Gary,…a few of us have been concerned for the same reason as you. Let’s hope she doesn’t have the flu bug or something – or she’s working on a great article…one of the two.

    Like

  28. Great Aunty Bertha says:

    I spoke with her on Thursday night. All is fine. I look forward to what she has been working on.

    GAB

    Like

  29. Leah says:

    Thank you GAB!

    Like

  30. Laila says:

    Sorry to cause concern, but occasionally projects come up that require so much attention, for such a long period, that I am unable to blog or post. In this case, the nature of the work required some degree of sequestering, for lack of a better word, which is why I had my friend Janet post last week.Rest assured, if anything ever happens to me like horrific swine flu, or a car accident or whatever, my family will post a message! I honestly did not think this would be such an issue.

    Great work Mary, on bringing the ridiculous handling of Supreme court listings to light again. How inexcusable on the part of the court to fail to list the days hearings. It doesn’t take but a moment to run that list, so the nonsense coming from that office is unacceptable.

    Like

  31. Laila says:

    Hello all – did anyone see the print edition of the Province today, with the 4 page Sea to Sky PR feature- the one that had one full page advertisment for MacQuarie and one full page for Kiewit? Hello….Listen to this:

    ” MacQuarie is a world leader in the financing and management of essential infrastructure assets…”

    Really? Then what happened to the Port Mann financing?

    But, it gets better, because Kiewit’s ad states:

    ” Safety is our business”.

    Methinks some FOI’s are in order to see what the safety record for that project was like, as well as whether or not there were any incidents like the ones on the Cloudworks IPP project.

    I can’t locate them online in that feature, but the print edition is priceless with all the pats on the back from suppliers etc. When I get back later, I’ll scan these ads for your viewing pleasure, unless someone else can do it first.

    What next? A big PR blitz about how wonderful the Port Mann project is, and how fantastic the financing was on that?

    Like

  32. salvatore bennedetto says:

    Maybe they think that nobody wil make a connection between the two. short memory in the public and all that.

    Did you get to the article on the next page? “Contraband cigarettes are a menace to our kids.” You could substitute two other items at least in there, booze and marihuana.

    Like

  33. Laila says:

    An interesting, related tidbit came my way recently, while I was ill, relating to ongoing rising costs on the Port Mann project :

    Quote:

    “I hear that they are looking for big money as a result of being denied access to the 248th St (Brown Road) Pit.

    The tender documents stated that there would be 500,000 cubic meters of gravel available, plus at least a 500,000 cubic meter waste dump (for all that sloppy material created by Lake Kiewit) adjacent to the jobsite.

    Now they have to go elsewhere, at great expense, to purchase said material.

    But who is adjudicating that expense?

    The same people that are complacent (or is it complicent?) in the trucker ripoff?

    Trucks that were worth $85/hour at tendering time are now being paid $65/hour as a result of economic slowdown.

    And Kiewit pockets the difference.”

    Good question, I think.

    Exactly who is in charge of adjudicating these expenses on the project?

    Who the hell is watching? Or is everyone just hoping no one asks any questions?

    Well, I’m slowly feeling better, so I’m going to start asking.

    Like

  34. Anson says:

    Laila,

    I just wanted to say that I read all the time, but my resolution in 2010 is to comment more here, rather than just starting arguments about your posts with my co-workers ; ) hehe.

    Anyways, good to see you feeling better and this was a story that I would like to see go further. That Port Mann project has a few other problems the public should hear about too, so I will email you what I personally know, if you are interested.

    Happy New Year!

    Like

  35. Laila says:

    Looking forward to hearing from you Anson. Thank you for the kind words, and happy new year to you as well!

    Like

  36. Skookum1 says:

    This is a very belated post, as I followed the link here from the January ’10 post on Tercon…..

    Why no tolls on the Sea to Sky vs those on all the new jes’-folks bridges in the Lower Mainland? As a former Whistler resident, used to the special treatment the developers and wealthy residents in that town have always gotten:

    Tolls would hurt real estate values in “the Corridor”, it’s that simple. The corporate backers of the BC Liberals don’t have their “country retreats” in Surrey, Maple Ridge and Langley. And nobody can tell me that the price of a chunk of land accessed by 99, be it at Furry Creek or Function Junction, won’t be hurt by at least a few thousand, more like tens of thousands of dollars, if the biuyer was faced with having to pay highway tolls to get there.

    The further argument, I suppose, is that it would discourage tourism even though Whistler-bound Seattleites would still have to pay tolls on the Pattullo, Port Mann or Golden Ears……note that there are none on the Richmond bridges, which means that Whistler-bound traffic will be coaxed into adding into Vancouver’s nightmarish traffic volume.

    A rich man may have just as much right to sleep under a bridge as a poor man, but he can’t be expected to pay tolls to cross it. He is, after all, rich – and making him richer is, allegedly, in the poor man’s interest. So the poor man must pay the toll, while to protect the riches of the rich, no tolls are charged. It might hurt their business. And then we’d all suffer huh?

    A full summary of road-improvement spending, all to serve the Whistler resort, since the highway was first opened back in the ’60s, would reveal some staggering figures; the “Kiewit round” of spending is only the latest phrase . Total cost of that highway, over all these years, might well be in the same range as the assessed value of resort property that was accessed by it.

    Like

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