SIDEWALK CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR

Until the 1980s, MONTREAL local government employees did most of the work on sidewalks and roads. Extra volume was outsourced to private firms. By 2002, however, following municipal mergers, municipal employees were no longer doing any of the work. In 2013, Quebec’s public inquiry into corruption and collusion in the construction industry, the Charbonneau Commission, exposed bid rigging schemes in which companies had been awarded public road, wastewater, and other building contracts at highly inflated prices. The same year, the province of Quebec passed legislation requiring construction companies doing work for local governments above specified costs to apply for authorization to a new provincial body. In one 2013 Montreal contract bid, tenders were scrapped when none of the bidders had received proper authorization under the Order in Council. As a result of these issues, many boroughs decided to bring sidewalk maintenance and construction projects back in house. These included Villeray–Saint-Michel–Park-Extension, Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, and Côtes-des-Neiges–Notre Dame-de-Grâce. The mayor of Villeray–Saint-Michel–Park-Extension told the media that quotes from private contractors had come in 25 to 44 per cent higher than expected. Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie reported savings of over $150,000 (or 18 per cent of the budget) in 2015 by bringing sidewalk maintenance back in house. The mayor of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, François Croteau, cited cost-savings and increased flexibility as the main reasons to have public workers doing this work: “When a crew is working on a project on a street and sees a sidewalk that needs repair nearby, it can simply do the work, whereas private companies must stick to their contract.”

 

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