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Queen's Quay revitalization overruns discussed at Waterfront Toronto meeting

Construction at a Waterfront Toronto site. CITYNEWS.

Waterfront Toronto’s revitalization of Queen’s Quay ahead of the Pan Am Games is over budget by 40 per cent — representing a cost overrun of about $35 million.

Waterfront Toronto, which oversees the project, puts the new price tag at almost $129 million which is about $36 million more than the original cost set in 2011.

Its board of directors met on Wednesday to discuss the snowballing costs.

CEO of Waterfront Toronto John Campbell vaguely blamed “a variety of things” that culminated into a “perfect storm.”

According to documents some of those issues were delays with Hydro work and the July 2013 flooding which led to millions in de-watering.

Crews also came across numerous sinkholes and pipes they hadn’t accounted for.

The agency sat on the information for about a year. It was only on Thursday when the city learned about the almost 40-per-cent cost overrun, although Waterfront Toronto knew about it in February.

Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong, who was appointed to the Waterfront Toronto board last week, was at the meeting and wasn’t pleased.

“The cost overruns I don’t think anyone is happy with those…this raises some concern in terms of their budgeting process,” he said.

When the Queen’s Quay project is done in June, in time for the Pan Am Games, the area will have separated streetcar lanes, off-street cycling and a granite promenade.

It’s not the first time Waterfront Toronto has come under criticism. In July, then-mayor Rob Ford objected to the cost of specialized beach umbrellas at Sugar Beach and public washrooms at a Port Lands sports field.

Waterfront Toronto has set up a risk oversight body to oversee future projects and is promising greater transparency.

Click here [PDF] for the meeting agenda.

With files from Cynthia Mulligan and Toronto staff