Toronto Hydro is taking issue with claims by Waterfront Toronto that the power utility was the original cause of construction delays at Queens Quay that mean the street won't be completely finished in time for the Pan Am Games.
Waterfront Toronto officials told board members last week that the years-long effort to remake Queens Quay will not meet its June deadline because Toronto Hydro needs to do additional work at the Rees Street intersection. Waterfront Toronto staff said their crews would not have enough time to put the finishing touches on the intersection, including the planned paving stones and granite sidewalks. An asphalt surface will be put in place that will be ripped up next summer, board members were informed.
An e-mail exchange between staff at the two agencies, obtained by The Globe and Mail, raises questions about that scenario and a spokesman for the utility now says Toronto Hydro originally agreed to work around the clock so that Waterfront Toronto could meet its June deadline. At the time of last week's board meeting, the utility was on track to finish its work by March 31 – a benchmark that it has subsequently discovered it cannot make because of a broken water main and flood over the weekend, Toronto Hydro spokesman Brian Buchan said.
"I think the implication that was drawn was that we were the reason for the delay. I don't think that's a fair assessment of the situation," Mr. Buchan said.
The finger-pointing between the two agencies comes as construction crews work to finish a project that has been plagued by delays and is close to 40-per-cent over budget.
During last week's board meeting, staff said Toronto Hydro informed Waterfront Toronto in November about the need for additional work at the intersection to increase power capacity. E-mails show discussions about the work continued in the new year. In late January, Waterfront Toronto told Hydro staff that its contractor must complete its work by the end of March to allow all work to be completed by the June deadline. The agency asked for a confirmation from Hydro and an agreement to pay Waterfront Toronto for "any premium time that would be required to get the work done if the March date was not met."
Mr. Buchan said Hydro staff gave "verbal confirmation" that they would meet the March deadline during a Feb. 6 conference call. He said no assurances were given to cover overtime cost for Waterfront Toronto because that is against Hydro policy.
A spokesman for Waterfront Toronto denies any such deadline assurances were made and says Hydro did not even respond to the request made in the January e-mail.