Categorized | Canadian Politics

Brand new Brampton City Hall flooded on Christmas

Posted on 31 December 2015 by admin

The controversial $205-million City Hall extension was flooded by an apparent internal heating system failure.

It was a Christmas nightmare at Brampton’s controversial new City Hall building as a flood damaged at least two floors of the new $205-million structure, leaving councillors concerned about who will cover the costs.

“We got an email Christmas morning saying there was major flooding in the new west tower,” Councillor John Sprovieri said of the building, an extension of the existing City Hall. Fire crews were on the scene Christmas morning.

City spokesperson Brian Stittle told the Star on Mohas said that the cause of the first- and second-floor flooding has not been determined, and there is no estimate yet for the repair costs.

Restoration crews had set up more than a dozen industrial-size dryers around one of the lobby areas and in a large back office space. Desks and chairs removed from rooms were lined up along a hallway.

Councillor Pat Fortini, a former highrise construction supervisor, examined the damage a day after the flood. “One of the maintenance people said it was from the boiler system that heats up the floors and the rest of the building. It’s like a radiator. It just blew. They had to open up all the walls.”

Fortini said drywall was being removed along the bottom of most walls he saw, to dry areas behind them and inhibit mould.

“There’s water in the walls, the carpet tiles were all removed, the elevators were damaged, the washrooms were damaged. It’s a lot of work … I would say it’s at least a few hundred thousand dollars. It had nothing to do with the weather outside. I’ve never seen something like this in a brand new building.”

Sprovieri has been critical of the project for years, alleging taxpayers paid far too much for the building, which opened more than a year late. Councillors were shocked earlier this year when they learned staff had excused builder Dominus Construction from paying about $1.4 million in project-delay penalties. Dominus was supposed to have been a 25-year partner in the deal but sold its rights to the project to Fengate LP before construction was completed. However, it stayed on to finish the building.

“I hope the builder’s warranty covers this,” Sprovieri said of the flood damage. “Taxpayers better not have to pay a cent for this. We’re going to get to the bottom of this to find out exactly how this could have happened in a brand new building that cost this much money.”

Fortini said the same. “It should be Fengate’s insurance (that pays the costs). I don’t want the taxpayer to pay for premiums that would go up. I’m going to ask for a full report on how this happened and who will cover the costs. … There were at least 10 city staff working overtime when I was there, and the private company that was hired.”

Fengate did not respond to a request for comment.

Stittle said it’s too early to determine how costs will be covered: “City staff continues to work with contractors and insurance company representatives to get a full understanding of the damage and associated costs … and who will be responsible for them.”

The building is expected to reopen as scheduled on Jan. 4, after the holiday break, but a few staff may have to be temporarily relocated, Stittle said.

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