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Town forgets December contract deadline

Transit agreement extended
without council’s knowledge

Nearly four months after the fact, Town council learned last Monday that the $400,000 per year agreement with the transit contractor had been automatically extended for three years without council’s knowledge.

This news, plus concerns about the soundness of a $2 million plan for transit service expansion, prompted Mayor Wayne Redekop to suggest a two or three month delay.

Councillors Stephen Passero and Don Lubberts said it was a waste of time but agreed to a one-month delay to get some community input and technical answers.

Staff “forgot” about the deadline to give notice to extend or renegotiate before the existing five-year term ends Sept. 30, said CAO Tom Kuchyt

Solicitor Ed Lustig said the contract was extended by default under the terms of the agreement, but the Town can cancel the contract at any time with 90 days’ notice.

The contractor, CanAr — also known as Tokmakjian Inc. and Tok Transit — had a long term contract with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in Alberta cancelled after only a few years recently and is suing for $50 million.

Councillors seemed to generally agree that they would have extended the contract anyway so there wasn’t much backsplash publicly about the matter.

However, the mishandling of the contract underscored concerns about the haste in implementing the expansion plan and officially approving a service contract.

“It’s not helpful and it’s problematic,” said the mayor days after the meeting. “The seriousness of the lapse has to be in balance with the context.”

The context, he said, is the contract would have been extended “in all likelihood,” he said, whether it be three years or one year and focus should remain on building the expanded service.

“We can still negotiate,” he said. “How we deal with this going forward is the most important aspect.”

 

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