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Red Hill Inquiry hears of conflict between city departments responsible for the road

Red Hill Inquiry hears of conflict between city departments responsible for the road

The inquiry heard Tuesday from Geoff Lupton who had been Director of Energy, Fleet & Traffic from 2012 to 2017.  Once again the discussion surrounded tensions between the Director of Engineering, Gary Moore’s department and the city’s Traffic Department. Over the objections of the city’s Lawyers, Commission Counsel Emily Lawrence took Lupton through a series of questions exploring Gary Moore’s interaction with other departments. Moore had been in charge of the construction of the Red Hill and the LINC but now the operation of the road was the responsibility of Lupton’s department in Traffic. Although it was traffic that was commissioning the 2013 and 2015 CIMA reports into the safety of the road, Moore was closely involved in commenting on the draft report produced by the consultant even to the point of ordering changes to their recommendations.  

When Moore was shown the preliminary CIMA report and its recommendations for more lighting in the highway he commented in an email, “We have said over and over, illumination of the Red Hill or Linc is never going to happen so stop asking. The (Environmental) approval was based on no illumination for environmental reasons, it is unaffordable, un-sustainable and un-necessary. It would be a $8-12M project plus protection (barriers, guide rail) and then the maintenance costs. One of his concerns was that some of the recommended safety measures would expose the city to more litigation. He noted that MTO were reluctant to set a standard for friction for fear that it would trigger lawsuits, writing, “They keep this info very close to the vest so it can’t be used against them in an action or suit.” This is confirmed in internal MTO memos submitted to the inquiry.

Lupton admitted that Moore could be irritable saying, “sometimes you had to let him rant and then get down to business.” He also said his staff sometimes complained about interactions with Moore’s staff saying they could also be abrupt…maybe even a little arrogant,

“I think the issue becomes my staff can’t tell his staff what to do and his staff can’t tell my staff what to do. That wouldn’t work anywhere else in the city,” he told the inquiry.

He said his staff would tell him they were having trouble with information sharing with Moore’s department. “Sometimes its like any relationship. You have to sit down and work things out.”

With regard to friction testing that had been done several times by MTO and in 2013 by Tradewinds; Lupton told Counsel that, as CIMA was being commissioned to prepare a second safety report in 2015, he still had no idea that friction testing had taken place.  This is consistent with the testimony Monday of David Ferguson who also worked in the city Traffic Department who said he was surprised when he learned friction testing had been conducted.

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