TORONTO, Ont. – The renovation of Nathan Phillips Square has turned into a nightmare for the city.
The Government Management committee has approved a $750,000 increase in spending, with the total cost to fix the rink totalling $2.6-million after staff cited unforeseen site conditions.
Some of the issues include deteriorating cable rods, which hold up the Freedom Arches. The arches overlook the pond at Nathan Phillips Square and were officially named the Freedom Arches in 1989.
A staff report has found that the arches were never properly waterproofed and have been exposed to the elements for 50 years.
“I don’t want to see the arches coming down on somebody that’s skating out there,” said Coun. Paul Ainslie.
“That’s going to be a lot larger issue for the City of Toronto than repairing these rods now.”
Coun. Doug Ford suggested someone dropped the ball. He said the project has been poorly managed by city staff.
“You run 40 per cent over, and all heck breaks loose,” he said. “Right down from the contractors that did it previously, to the engineers, to the consultants.”
Coun. Vincent Crisanti also felt an error was made.
“When you’re looking at a 40 per cent overrun, there are some concerns in my mind. I think a better job could have been done,” he said.
However, Coun. Pam McConnell compared it to a homeowner who digs up their basement and finds foundation problems
“These people are not seers,” she said. “They’re not magicians, they can’t see through concrete.”
The entire makeover project now rings in at more than $45-million. In 2010, the cost increased by $5-million, after crews discovered the parking garage wasn’t strong enough to support the new stage.
It is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2013.