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HomeBusinessSewage scandal: Shocking new price tag for delayed North Vancouver treatment plant is $3.86 billion

Sewage scandal: Shocking new price tag for delayed North Vancouver treatment plant is $3.86 billion

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Bob Mackin 

Metro Vancouver believes the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant will cost $3.86 billion and be substantially complete in 2030. 

That is more than $3 billion extra and 10 years later than originally planned. 

Commissioner Jerry Dobrovolny made the announcement March 22, the week after a task force of regional politicians held its last monthly closed-door meeting.

A timeline of how the biggest infrastructure scandal in North Shore history unfolded. 

Feb. 14, 2014

Metro Vancouver board directed staff to do a design/build/finance deal for the Lions Gate Secondary Treatment Plant and seek senior government grants. The project was estimated at $700 million. 

March 11, 2017

North Vancouver Liberal MP Jonathan Wilkinson announced a $212 million federal grant to the Lions Gate Wastewater Treatment Plant project and B.C. Liberal Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender announced a $193 million grant at the same photo op. 

April 5, 2017

Metro Vancouver approved Acciona Wastewater Solutions LP for the $525 million design, build, finance contract. “New wastewater management regulations in Canada require all primary treatment plants in urban areas to upgrade to secondary treatment by 2020.”

April 10-issued stop work order for the $779M North Shore sewage plant project (Mackin)

Aug. 31, 2018 

At the groundbreaking ceremony, North Vancouver City Mayor Darrell Mussatto said: “It will be done by the end of 2020, which is wonderful, and will replace the oldest facility that Metro Vancouver has in wastewater.”

Jan. 10, 2019

In an interview with theBreaker.news, Metro Vancouver chair and Burnaby city councillor Sav Dhaliwal said: “It is exactly what we have signed, on budget and on time.”

Jan. 17, 2019

Report from project manager Paul Dufault said the approved budget increased to $777.9 million. 

April 4, 2019

Subcontractor Tetra Tech sued Acciona for $20 million. 

April 10, 2019

District of North Vancouver issued stop work order.

Construction site signs from North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant (Mackin)

 

March 12, 2021

New budget number. Metro Vancouver finally revealed that the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant would cost $1.058 billion and be finished in 2024.

Oct. 15, 2021

Metro Vancouver said it would cancel the contract with Acciona. 

Jan. 20, 2022

Metro Vancouver issued termination notice to Acciona, claiming the Spanish company had abandoned the site, shrinking crews from 300 to 50 workers. Acciona denied. 

Acciona knew it was coming. One of its employees, Anika Calder, took photographs of a confidential Metro Vancouver report dated Jan. 17, 2022. Calder had been visiting her father, Coquitlam city manager Peter Steblin, who used Greater Vancouver Sewage and Drainage District chair and Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart’s log-in credentials.

Feb. 25, 2022

Metro Vancouver hired PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc, as the general contractor. 

Sept. 20, 2023

Columnist Kirk LaPointe in the North Shore News, “Shocking bill coming for North Shore wastewater treatment plant”

“…it will be best to read the next line sitting down. I’m told the new estimate is coming in at … $4 billion.”

Sept. 30, 2023

Metro Vancouver chair George Harvie struck a task force to review options to complete the project, with a mid-2024 target to report findings and recommendations. Meetings happened monthly behind closed doors. 

March 22, 2024

On a Friday afternoon in the middle of Spring Break, Dobrovolny announced the board has approved a $3.86 billion budget, for substantial completion in 2030. 

He said the “average household impact” is $725 per year for North Shore residents over 30 years. For Vancouverites it’ll be $140 and Richmonders $70. 

“The litigation is is active with Acciona, and so I can’t get into specifics on that. I have not spoken to the RCMP, but I can’t get into the specifics of the litigation that’s ongoing.”

Dobrovolny made the announcement solo on the 29th floor of Metro Vancouver’s Metrotower III offices. None of the mayors or councillors on the Metro Vancouver board attended. 

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