New contractor means roadwork delays, anti-corruption rules a factor?

Could the new anti-corruption rules have contributed to road work delays on Notre Dame St. near Griffintown?

The city's point man on infrastructure Lionel Perez told CJAD 800 News the road and watermain work was supposed to have been finished last December. Now it should only get done by the middle of next month - just before the construction holiday.

"The plans and the layout on the ground weren't aligned which caused some adjustments that needed to be done. Also, the entrepreneur's lack of experience in dealing with such older infrastructure also contributed to the delay," Perez said.

Perez disagrees the new anti-corruption rules may have prevented more experienced companies from getting the contract.

"We were asking for new players in light of everything we had heard at the Charbonneau Commission and this entrepreneur was a new one and we are dealing with infrastructure that dated two centuries ago," Perez said.

"We want to have more competition. It's normal for a different business to get to understand the different layout, the different kinds of infrastructure."

But merchants say they don't care who's at fault because they are fed up with the work that started last summer and has been blocking their business ever since.

"Now they're telling me end of July. I might as well close my doors,"  said Ted Dranias, owner of La Trattoria restaurant on Notre Dame at Guy. Dranias said business for him and his neighbours has gone down by about 30%, adding that the work is going on during the peak summer period.

Dranias was furious to hear the reason behind the delay.

"That is a real farce. They hire engineers. Where do they get these engineers? We're supposed to have some of the best engineers in the world. The guy should be getting fired," Dranias said.

Perez said the contractor will be penalized according to the terms of the contract. Dranias said they should be compensated for the delays but Perez said that's not in the cards.

That only made Dranias even more upset.

"I don't think the city really cares about the businesses in Montreal. They keep making the same mistakes over and over again."

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