Canadian Consulting Engineer

Montreal’s mayor reluctantly hands out contracts

The mayor of Montreal, Laurent Blanchard, said last week that it was only by necessity that the city had awarded contracts to two engineering firms.

August 12, 2013   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The mayor of Montreal, Laurent Blanchard, said last week that it was only by necessity that the city had awarded contracts to two engineering firms.

In a CBC report, Blanchard was quoted: “It feels unpleasant, awkward and embarrassing,” to have given the work because the two engineering firms have been implicated in corruption charges.

Quebec has instituted a new anti-corruption law intended to stamp out any problems with kickbacks. The law requires that companies that submit bids for large municipal contracts must be approved by the provincial securities regulator, AMF.

However, Blanchard said that it will take three years for the AMF to come up with a final list of approved firms, and in the meantime the city has to deal with crumbling infrastructure. Last week a pothole opened up downtown and swallowed an entire front-end loader to the astonishment of passers by. The hole at Guy and Ste-Catherine Streets was three metres deep.

The two contracts Blanchard announced are to complete some urgent repairs to sewer and water pipe infrastructure, are worth $500,000 and $800,000. They went to SNC-Lavalin and BPR.

Blanchard suggested that in the coming years Montreal’s politicians will be faced with the same quandary. Many of the province’s construction companies and engineering companies have faced allegations of conspiracy and corruption during the Charbonneau Inquiry, but the city’s roads, water and wastewater infrastructure still badly need attention.

To read the CBC report, click here.


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