At last! The ministry of transportation responds to my questions…
****Updated at the bottom, Tuesday Nov. 2, 8pm.
Sometimes what is more telling about a situation isn’t what is said, but rather, what is not.
Since the publication of my first story on the shadow tolls on the Sea to
Sly Sky Highway, Dave Crebo (PAB from the MOT) and I have had a rather unimpressive exchange of emails, as detailed on the last post immediately below.
To be honest, I did not expect a reply to my last email, where I asked these questions:
Why were the schedules and annexes not included in the public document? If the ministry still is going to deny the existence of the shadow toll as a semantic issue of word usage, produce the documents that spell out the details of the vehicle usage payments – the project is complete.
What is the ministries position on Macquarie’s assertion the sea to sky highway has a shadow toll ? Can the ministry please explain the difference, if they believe there is one, between a shadow toll and a vehicle usage payment ?
Considering the ” vehicle usage payment” pays difference rates for the types of vehicles using the highway, and the distance they travel, how is this monitored, by whom, and where is the information stored?
Are the licence plate readers and microwave vehicle detection systems still in operation, and if so, who monitors, compiles and stores the information, and where?
In reply to those questions, Mr. Crebo sent me the following :
Both the ministry and S2S Transportation Group agree the payment mechanism for the concessionaire is not based on a shadow toll
Wow. It took 5 days for the ministry to come to an agreement with the S2S group, of which they have been in a legal contract with for nearly the last 6 years, that they both think the payment mechanism is not based on a shadow toll. hehe. Would have loved to have heard that conference call!
Kind of funny, no? I even have to agree- the payment mechanism is not based on a shadow toll – but the shadow toll does comprise a portion of the payment mechanism…
More semantics, more verbal games, and still no answers to some very interesting questions.
If there is nothing to hide, the ministry would simply answer the questions instead of making a dedicated effort to avoid them.
Macquarie has been the financial advisor for S2S throughout the entire bidding process, the negotiations and the bid award. They remain as such even now. An international corporation like this does not make mistakes in documents like the one on my site. Nor did any of the other partners who have indicated the shadow toll as a good feature on this project. Macquarie never counted on an outsider to the industry seeing that, nor did the other partners and no one ever thought someone would look into it and start asking questions.
Gordon Campbell and Minister Shirley Bond must stop playing games immediately and answer the questions asked of them by myself, and the people of British Columbia. Something stinks, and it sure doesn’t smell like roses
*****Update, 8pm – Seems I am keeping the PAB working late these days. This just came in reply to my email sent earlier this evening in reply to Dave Crebo, who at the time was writing as MOT rep it seemed:
Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2010 05:36 PM
To: Crebo, David PAB:EX
Subject: RE: Comment or statement from the minister or yourself.
Thank you for taking 5 days to work out what all parties involved agree on! Congratulations are in order. I too, agree the payment mechanism is not BASED on a shadow toll, however it does make up part of the total payment.
Perhaps now that the ministry has come to a common conclusion about what or what not you and the concessionaire agree on,you can actually answer the questions listed at the bottom of the email below your most current reply, since you have still refused to address them.
That would likely be the most efficient use of your time, rather than sending emails answering questions I did not ask.
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 2010 19:48:35 -0700
As I’m no longer with MoTI pls contact Jeff Knight for follow up Qs.
Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands
(250) 387-8467 (o)
(250) 812-5747 (c)
Huh? To quote William Shatner, host of my new favorite show: ” Is that weird…. or what? ”
In a half hour the guy is transferred to another ministry? Ah, well…. he didn’t seem so keen on transportation issues anyways.
Now… let’s see how Jeff is going to handle this.
( I would like to thank a host of online publications from the interior who have asked me to join as a contributor, an honour they have also asked of Harvey Oberfeld, whose blog items are to be found on their pages as well. In particular, Adrian Barnes wrote an exceptional piece following my invitation to contribute, and I would like to pass the link onto my readers. He addresses the phenomenom of social media and independent writers like myself- the lone sheep of the media world! You can read that article here: http://rosslandtelegraph.com/news/comment-welcome-new-reality-media-now-belongs-everyonewho-want-share
Thank you to the following publications for picking up the Sea to Sky story, and inviting me to share my stories, opinions and thoughts with your readers too!