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Hamilton bans contractor from bidding for two years but still not enough: Merulla

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by Dena Fehir last update:Apr 6, 2017

One of the contractors that built Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont. has been banned from bidding on large city projects for two years.
Hamilton bans contractor from bidding for two years but still not enough: Merulla

The motion, filed by City of Hamilton Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla, addressed the ongoing deficiencies of the $145 million stadium that serves as the home of the Hamilton Tiger Cats and was also used, while still unfinished, as a soccer venue during the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Kenaidan Contracting, a minority partner who worked with Bouygues Building Canada in the Ontario Sports Solutions consortium, built the stadium, which opened for the Games almost a year late, while plagued with concerns such as design problems and obstructed seating.

Merulla's motion stated that due to the impairment of the commercial relationship between the city and Kenaidan that has resulted from litigation and Kenaidan's acts or omissions, staff should be directed to reject any current and future bids, including any joint venture to which Kenaidan is a party, up until and including March 7, 2019.

"From my perspective, and by extension most residents of the city of Hamilton, the apology is not accepted,"

Sam Merulla
Hamilton Ward 4 Councillor

Council approved the ban in a vote taken March 8. This halts Kenaidan from bidding on hundreds of millions of dollars in upcoming city treatment facility upgrades.

The construction company is disappointed with the decision, but did offer a public apology.

"I would like to give my personal commitment that on future projects for the city, we will demonstrate the qualities that Kenaidan as a contractor has built its reputation on and that issues such as occurred at the stadium will not be repeated," said Kenaidan president David Kirkland.

He added that Kenaidan had hoped to be judged on its strong performance as a contractor for over 40 years in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, including the West Harbour GO Station and other projects in Hamilton.

"Some of the upcoming work on Hamilton's water and wastewater program is a very good fit for us and we believe it would have been beneficial for the city if we could have competed for this work," Kirkland said.

Despite their history and apology, for Merulla, it is simply too little, too late.

"The apology put forward by Kenaidan was appreciated and speaks volumes regarding the victimization of our community. But from my perspective, and by extension most residents of the city of Hamilton, the apology is not accepted," Merulla said in a statement.

The Lancaster Group, a Hamilton-based contractor that installed the stadium's ductwork, is suing Ontario Sports Solutions for a total of approximately $4 million they claim is still owed. The outstanding amount is for work done on Pan Am projects that include not only the stadium but the Milton Velodrome and the York University Stadium.

"All of the projects encountered significant delays," said Greg Crawford, Lancaster Group operations vice-president, noting specific to the stadium, there were loading issues associated with the structural steel.

Other related issues Lancaster alleges are:

they were required to remove large sections of ductwork that had already been installed;

there was no co-ordination of the industries by Ontario Sports Solutions on these projects, resulting in the stacking of trades (ductwork, plumbing, electrical, communications, carpentry and drywall) throughout the build cycle, creating mass confusion as each vied for work areas; and

they were being asked to perform the same tasks multiple times and to accelerate schedules as Ontario Sports Solutions' priorities changed.

"The end result is that Lancaster stayed on site for approximately 12 months beyond the originally scheduled completion date and incurred significant costs to do so," alleges Crawford.

As for Kenaidan's apology and two-year ban on bidding, Crawford said that regardless of any ban and subsequent settlement between Kenaidan and the city, they are still left to wait out "a cumbersome court process that ineffectively deals with prompt dispute resolution."

None of the allegations made by Lancaster have been proven in court.

last update:Apr 6, 2017

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