City councillors are trying to usher in an improvement project management system that would see more detailed planning in the early stages of a project to cut down on later changes or mistakes. Three infamous projects are top of mind as council’s executive committee discussed the plan Tuesday, the Metro Line, and the two bridge projects, the Walterdale and the 102 ave bridge over Groat rd.
Two of those three were identified as projects that would have been improved under a system that had more early work done in the planning process. Infrastructure boss Adam Laughlin told them the LRT and the Walterdale would have benefited, but not the third, where high winds during installation bent steel girders pushing the 102 ave bridge over Groat back a year.
“Those risks are present with all capital projects is the 102 ave bridge where unfortunately it’s an industry that does come with that risk and complexity and those things will happen and will happen again, and it’s our ability to respond to them that’s going to make us better.”
“That brings reassurance to me and should reassure the public that changes are being made in our approach, and in our culture and in the attitude of our staff and in the governance over these projects,” Mayor Don Iveson told reporters.
“Sometimes you hit delays for perfectly valid reasons. Steel bends, slopes give way, weather impacts, so what this will help us do is give realistic timelines for things because we’ll have done enough design work to anticipate what those risks might be and budget for them accordingly.”
Taking this more careful approach could see money sunk into planning, only to have a project dropped. Yet the mayor views it as long term cost avoidance.
“I don’t think it’ll happen very often,” Iveson said. “I think what you’ll find is, not that we abandon projects after we do the design, but once we do the design we’ll say, ‘you know we’ve got to nip and tuck this project, or we’ve got to change the scope of it to keep it with in a certain cost range,’ and so I think what we’ll see is more steering of projects along the way.”
The city, on a recommendation proposed by Coun. Michael Walters will reach out to industry leaders in the community for guidance on an informal basis.