I don’t think I’ve EVER seen this before: a cabinet minister standing in the Legislature admitting his government HAD NO IDEA until just weeks ago that the Northwest Hydro Transmission Line project … already $200 MILLION over-budget …. was actually now going to be almost $340 MILLION over budget … an EXTRA $140 MILLION OVER BUDGET … and Hydro had NOT even informed the Ministry as the costs continued to climb!
This is the level of fiscal management expertise the voters of BC chose?
A Hydro spokesman explained most of the extra costs resulted from difficulties in clearing the power line’s right of way, costs for constructing service roads beside the line, delays and bringing labour in from across the province.
I wonder if BC Hydro uses the same geniuses who did the costing estimates for the new Vancouver Convention Centre or BC Place? Did a new mountain suddenly spring up in the path of the line? Is it just fiscal planning incompetence? Bad management? Or were the costs deliberately understated at the beginning to get approval for the project?
Some people, some companies make A LOT of extra money when the supposedly EXPERT analysis and assessment for any project costs go 340 MILLION over budget!
So on top of the original estimated price tag of $404 million … the new projected cost is now $736 million … and counting
Who knows what the final figures will be! Not BC Hydro! Not the BC government! And certainly not those of us who …one way or another …will pay for it all!
Thursday …in the first Question Period of the new Legislative session, NDP Leader Adrian Dix repeatedly nailed Energy Minister Bill Bennett over the cost overruns.
Bennett’s response: the government had no idea until AFTER the election the costs had gone up another $140 MILLION!
Ignorance IS bliss!
But think about it: the election was only six weeks ago and before that Liberals had NO IDEA that costs had continued to skyrocket … not $10 million, not $20 million , not even $50 million …but ANOTHER $140 MILLION!!!!
For almost the entire Question Period NDP critics tried to find out how the government could be so out of touch with reality over at BC Hydro?
Bennett said he is not happy at what has happened …. that the government wasn’t even told, as costs continued to escalate so high.
And yet, he defended the government’s decision to EXEMPT the project from scrutiny/approval process of the BC Utilities Commission. Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!
Something stinks to me … not only about EVEN MORE cost over-runs, suddenly revealed AFTER the election, but WHY the government took the project out of the evaluating scrutiny of the BCUC.
The government … of course … will NOT get to the bottom of this.
But the media should!!!