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Red Hill Inquiry still to hear from city officials and politicians

Red Hill Inquiry still to hear from city officials and politicians

As the Red Hill Inquiry is in recess until August 10th, a number of City of Hamilton current and former employees, as well as politicians are yet to be heard from. The Inquiry witness list shows more than two dozen witnesses will be called in August. In addition, there will likely be more technical experts called as well. One witness being recalled is Marco Oddi, who was Senior Project Manager, Red Hill Valley Project, Public Works during its construction period, reporting to Gary Moore the Director of Engineering. He had previously provided the inquiry with a history of the construction of the Red Hill.

Also scheduled to testify is Dan McKinnon who, as head of Public Works, reorganized the department and replaced Gary Moore with Gord McGuire as Director of Engineering. Inquiry documents indicate McKinnon had conducted a performance review on Moore, and had indicated to then City Manager Chris Murray that he had a problem with Moore’s management style. McKinnon retired from the City in the wake of the Sewergate Incident.

The inquiry was called initially with the task of finding out the circumstances  that led to the Tradewind friction report being buried for several years, but in some ways the significance of the report itself has been called into question. The report was commissioned by Golder Associates for the city as Golder was preparing a six year performance review of the highway. The Tradewind report identified lower friction values on the Red Hill compared to the LINC and recommended further testing.  For its part, Golder identified the friction levels as low and suggested  a resurfacing be considered, but Moore testified that there was no sense of urgency conveyed to him by Golder. He also said he was unable to get Golder to give him a frame of reference by which the seriousness of the friction issue could be determined, something that was denied by Golder’s main contact with Moore, Dr. Ludomir Uzarowski. Moore completed a five-day marathon examination last week, and has emerged as the central figure in the inquiry.

A hearing on August 9th will determine whether the city will be forced to hand over some documents being sought by the inquiry, on which the City has asserted privilege. The inquiry will resume the day after that hearing.

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