Canadian Consulting Engineer

Questions raised over Ottawa Congress Centre expansion

September 5, 2005
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

An advisor to the Ontario Government's Minister of Tourism has advised it that a proposed expansion to the Ottawa C...

An advisor to the Ontario Government’s Minister of Tourism has advised it that a proposed expansion to the Ottawa Congress Centre needs to be seriously reconsidered and controlled before it moves ahead.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism for Ontario had appointed Rosemarie Leclair, a city of Ottawa manager, to analyze and advise them on the project to ensure it would be completed on time and on budget.
The resulting report, released in late August, found a number of problems with the proposals. For example, it said, “the number of items that appear to have been excluded from the project budget, the reluctance to treat the project as one combined undertaking despite the obvious integrated nature of the expansion and refurbishment to the overall design concept, raise concerns about the total value of the project and the sufficiency of the proposed budget.”
The report also made it clear that costs must be controlled and that the procurement methods must be transparent and open to public scrutiny.
Plans to expand the congress centre have been under consideration for years. The project, now in its conceptual stage, involves a total refurbishment and expansion, valued at $125 million. The majority of the funding ($85 million) is to come from grants from the province and federal governments. The city of Ottawa is to contribute $25 million, and the rest is to come from the Ontario Financing Authority.
The Ottawa Congress Centre is a crown agency representing the province as the facility’s owner.


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