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Witness challenged for not red-flagging safety concerns on Red Hill

Witness challenged for not red-flagging safety concerns on Red Hill

It was a city lawyer’s turn to question Dr. Ludomir Uzarowski, the consultant who commissioned the Tradewind Report into skidding on the Red Hill Parkway. It was the fourth day of testimony for the former Golder consultant who is emerging as a key witness in the inquiry. Delna Contractor, of the Toronto law firm Lenczner Slaght, who have been   engaged by the City, introduced a line of questioning that appeared to suggest that Uzarowski had not stressed safety concerns strongly enough in his draft road condition reports to the city. She repeatedly pressed Uzarowski to say whether he would have red flagged any safety concerns if he had seen them, to the point that Commission chair J. Wilton-Siegel interrupted her, pointing out that she had put the same question reputedly to the witness, and appeared to want a different answer than the one she was getting.

However, several witnesses for consulting firms, including Dr. Uzarowski, have previously testified that they ran into situations where city staff wanted consultant recommendations toned down or changed.

Yesterday Uzarowski described how he had received “aggressive” pushback on one of his reports that described less than optimal skid characteristics on the road. He testified that he was asked to change his report to describe friction numbers that he considered low as “adequate”. On a couple of occasions lawyer Contractor’s questions appeared to suggest that if Uzarowski’s language in his communications with Gary Moore who commissioned Golder, had been more urgent, that there might have been a different outcome. Dr. Uzarowski repeatedly replied that he was not a safety expert—that his expertise was in paving.

Despite the fact that Uzarowski took it upon himself to obtain quotes on shot blasting and presented them to Mr. Moore he was still asked why he had not stressed safety concerns that might occur if the remedial work was not done. In any event he testified that Moore dismissed the suggestion saying he “wasn’t interested.” He also explained that he was aware that there were plans to resurface the road in a few months, but that he still thought shot blasting or some other surface treatment would worth doing, berceuse of the relative low cost of the operation. He repeated he had done his best to  provide the city with his advice to improve surface friction through shot blasting or other techniques, even to the point of getting quotes on the work and nonetheless his advice was not followed.

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