Re-building the Burgoyne bridge in St. Catharines was supposed to cost $59 million dollars but the final price came in closer to $100 million. The region is calling for an investigation into missing emails connected to an audit of those costs.
The project was slated for completion in 2015, but just wrapped up this past march. The bridge runs over the 406 and Twelve Mile creek, connecting downtown St.Catharines to the city’s west end.
“We have to be able to talk about things like cover-ups, those are very harsh words, but when we are diverted all the time from finding out the facts what else are we to think?” Selina Volpatti, the chair of the Burgoyne task force says there is concern surrounding two years of unavailable city staff emails.
“The years 2011 and 2012 were critical years decisions around construction of the bridge. In 2011, all those emails have been corrupted, in 2012 they’re all missing.”
Following this revelation, the task force passed a motion requesting St. Catharines conduct an independent investigation of its forensic audit. An internal probe revealing that senior region staff members were wilfully removing growing cost totals from reports before sending them to councillors.
According to Andrew Scott, the regional manager of the task force internal probe, “A number of staff and councillors were interviewed just before Christmas, so November-December period. Since that time OPP have been working and we’ve been complying with requests as they’ve come in.”
In addition to the OPP investigation, there’s also been two separate audits into the massive cost overruns.