While industry members are often faced with legal issues regarding payment, budget overruns or other such problems, it is rare that a company would be the body doing the suing.
This is the case, however, in Regina, which now faces legal action from Cohlmeyer Architecture for an alleged unpaid fee. The architects are now asking for $600,000 due to cost increases on the $12.6 million Square Plaza project and correlating company fees.
Throughout the development phase, the projected costs of the assignment almost doubled to reach its final $12.6 million price.
According to Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the lawsuit is but the latest in a series of controversies surrounding Regina’s City Hall, where accountability for the issue now stands as a key concern.
“If you look at this recent lawsuit one has to ask, ‘well who is going to be held accountable at the city for those mistakes,’” Craig said.
Regina City Council candidate Eric Anderson agrees, saying the current legal issues highlight the greater problem of municipal money mismanagement.
“I’m not surprised by the lawsuit,” he said. “To me, this is the tip of what is a very large iceberg. This project has clearly been mismanaged from its inception.”
Anderson made his statements after a call went out for an independent audit on the project.
As it stands, Cohlmeyer Architecture claims Regina still refuses to pay the additional costs. Anderson says information surrounding the specific details are ‘severely lacking,’ creating a standard of mismanagement that casts doubts over the success of future large-scale tenders.
“This current council wants to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a football stadium, yet they can’t even manage the costs of a key downtown street,” Anderson said. “Is Regina’s square plaza project a sign of things to come for future large scale city projects?”