Dawson Creek embraces recommendations of provincial audit

Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead says his city has received tremendous value from the performance audit report from the office of the acting Provincial Auditor-General for Local Government.

It found some significant issues with how the City planned and managed the Calvin Kruk Arts Centre Project, as they relate to decision making, risk management, and costs estimates and budgeting.

It concluded the City should act to improve its capital asset management, capital project planning, and procurement policies and practices.

A candid Mayor Bumstead says, that’s already been done by the current council, as the City moves forward, with a five to seven year, $9 million repair project, on three ice arenas…

“We used this audit to help guide us on the decisions we made on the Memorial Arena and the curling rink. We don’t want to just spend two, three, or four million bucks fixing the mechanical systems and then find out later that we have a roof that could collapse or that we’ve got a structural problem.

“To me those are key recommendations that you want to do and take forward. The kind of recommendations that you get out of a review of a project that was so controversial in our community because it did go much longer as a result of cost overruns and a contractor who ended up not being able to complete the job. To me those are things that you learn from hopefully and help guide you to make decisions on behalf of your taxpayers because that’s who’s paying. It’s not us.”

For those not familiar with the story, in 2008, the City of Dawson Creek purchased the old post office building from the federal government and began the process of renovating and converting it into the arts centre.

Originally estimated at $10 million, the project budget increased several times and eventually reached $17.6 million.

In addition to the cost increases, the project also experienced significant delays, and the Centre wasn’t opened until September of last year.

That was only after it was completed by a replacement contractor, who took over, when the original one—as agreed to by the city—left the construction site in January of 2013.