Yesterday we reported the cost overruns on the Seymour-Capilano water filtration project were skyrocketing. Today, Metro Vancouver Chair Lois Chair Jackson finally broke her silence and weighed in with her perspective on the $220,000,000 cost overruns that occurred on her watch.
One would have expected an apology to taxpayers? A tad of remorse perhaps? Nope. Jackson's head-in-sand response to the Vancouver Province newspaper went something like this:
"It's just quite outrageous"
You can say that again Chair Jackson. We agree, the fact this questionable public project is now terribly behind schedule, and massively overbudget is simply 'outrageous'. However, Jackson's bizarre comments only serve to demonstrate how out of touch she is with Metro Vancouver taxpayers.
Who is she outraged with? Herself? The contractor? Metro Vancouver staff? It's really hard to tell from the interview she gave with the Province which was most certainly was a head scratcher.
So will taxpayers actually be on the hook for the additional $220,000,000 dollars to complete this massive infrastructure project?
"We have to go through some steps to see if we can recover the money," says Jackson
The "steps" Jackson refers to is a costly legal battle with contractor Bilfinger Berger Canada. There are certainly no assurances that Metro Vancouver will win this court case against the private sector contractor. If they do lose, taxpayers are on the hook for the whole cost overrun.
We also learned today that Jackson intends on going cap-in-hand to the Province and Federal government asking them for an additional $110 million to purify the water at the Coquitlam water reservoir. Hold on to your wallets folks, now it's time for another pristine water supply to get the Brita treatment.
For the third time, we at CityCaucus.com are calling upon Jackson to do the right thing and step aside to make way for someone like Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts to take over. Perhaps then, the Vancouver region will finally get the kind of leadership it so desperately needs.