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Memos show conflict between City departments on Red Hill Safety Issues

Memos show conflict between City departments on Red Hill Safety Issues

Questioning at Wednesday’s Red Hill Inquiry continued to explore the degree to which consultant’s reports are altered to suit the needs of city staff. From the inception of the hearing various witnesses have denied that consultants will alter their recommendations under pressure. However, documents posted by the inquiry detailed several email exchanges where objections to recommendations in the 2013 and 2015 Red Hill safety reports by the consultant CIMA were expressed and changes were asked for.

In particular, Director of Engineering Gary Moore looking at drafts of the CIMA report objected to recommendations that called for consideration of lighting portions of the highway and for the erection of barriers in the highway median,

Jeff Lupton who was a director in the Traffic Department showed a draft of the CIMA report to Moore. In a memo to his colleagues, he wrote: I’ve reviewed with Gary… he’s good, but suggests that we manage the final version of the report to reflect what we are saying. He said it’s not uncommon to get and FOI to this type of thing. I’m not asking to change opinions, but to soften and stage the report similar to what we have done with our info. report. e.g. do this first and measure results, etc. Please sit down with CIMA and make this happen. Please ensure you manage this directly. The final CIMA report was modified to remove reference to lighting as a recommendation and instead inserted the work “could” instead of “should”—which as has been testified, in consulting language, has a specific meaning with reporting of this nature.

Testifying Wednesday, Martin White who was head of Traffic Engineering was concerned that the CIMA report did not adequately address the direction by council to specifically explore Lighting the highway. Of Moore’s influence on the CIMA report he wrote a colleague saying: “Geoff, Gary has a vested interest in this from the beginning and has influenced it somewhat already. Off the record I think he even spoke to CIMA. I am asking if you can schedule a meeting with him for us to talk as we cannot afford staff issues as we report to Council. He was on the original team that built the roadway. There is nothing wrong with the review or recommendations from the Consultant. I deem this extremely sensitive as I don’t need any nonsense related our actions on Councillor Collins motion.”

White expressed impatience with what he considered Moore’s opposition to elements of safety testing that his department was planning to conduct–specifically an analysis of the number of collisions involving vehicles skidding off the road and crossing in the oncoming lane. He wrote, “has anybody told him we are doing the Linc  collision crossover study with CIMA? He’s going to react when he finds out. Traffic staff shouldn’t have to put up with his reaction when he finds out. Malone of (CIMA) even told me he is charging us a bit extra due to Gary. He wants to be sure his recommendations are totally defensible. He asked me what he should say when Gary calls him. I told CIMA to do the best analysis they can and give us the best technical options and not to worry about what Gary says to them. This is a consistent problem we face routinely with that section and related works. I’m not going to respond but I just had to have my bitch out to you! Thx for listening!”

White told counsel today that the final report to council was downgraded to an “information” report from a “Recommendation” report. The CIMA report was not attached to the report but was briefly alluded to in the staff report.

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