City staff won’t pursue legal action for GRC repairs

Construction/renovation at the GRC pool, May 2015.

(ABOVE: The GRC pool under renovation in May 2015.)

City legal staff won’t be pursuing legal action to recoup the $4-million spent to fix structural deficiencies at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex.

The pool facility was closed from October 2013 to June 2015 for major renovations after workers found mould, leaks and rust in the structure. Councillor Shad Qadri had asked the city’s legal staff to look into the possibility of legal action to recoup some of the funds. 

A report to be tabled next Tuesday to the city’s Finance and Economic Development Committee concludes that “no reasonable likelihood of recovering all or a portion of the cost of the remediation works required”.  Here’s the full text of the report. (We’ve bolded some of the text.)


On June 11, 2014, City Council approved a recommendation by the Finance and Economic Development Committee for the allocation of $4 million from the City-Wide Reserve to fund increased remediation works for the Goulbourn Recreation Complex. The accompanying Report (ACS2014-PAI-INF-0006) detailed the fact that those additional works were necessitated by deterioration of some structural elements of the building caused by water infiltration into the building envelope. Concurrent with the consideration of that Report, the City Clerk and Solicitor undertook to review whether all or a portion of the costs of the remedial works might be recovered by any of the external contractors or consultants involved in the design and/or construction of the Goulbourn Recreation Complex.

In keeping with that undertaking, the City Clerk and Solicitor retained external counsel to conduct a comprehensive review of all the background documentation and circumstances in the matter with a view to determining whether the City might effectively advance a legal claim against any party to which responsibility for the deterioration of the Goulbourn Recreation Complex might be attributed. That review was completed in the latter portion of 2015.

Based on an analysis of all of the available documentation, as well as interviews with City staff, the review determined that the City did not have a reasonable likelihood of establishing liability against any of the parties potentially responsible for the problems that prompted the recent remediation of the Goulbourn Recreation Complex structure. This view was heavily influenced by the fact that similar problems had been identified shortly after the initial construction, which had prompted the City in June 2006 to pursue a $1 million action against the parties responsible for the design and construction of the facility. The settlement of that litigation and the execution of full and final releases between the City and the respective defendants effectively prevent the City from pursuing further litigation against those same parties. As well, the fact that evidence of water infiltration and corrosion had been discovered during a building assessment in 2010 suggests that any claim advanced by the City in 2014 would face a limitations defence on the part of any defendant that the City might pursue to recover the costs of the remedial works.

In light of the conclusions reached by the external legal review, and recognizing the significant costs associated with litigating older matters involving issues of engineering, design and construction (e.g. legal fees, expert opinions, etc.), the City Clerk and Solicitor determined that there was no reasonable likelihood of recovering all or a portion of the cost of the remediation works required for the Goulbourn Recreation Complex, from any other party and that commencing litigation might serve only to increase the overall cost to the City of the matter.


6 thoughts on “City staff won’t pursue legal action for GRC repairs”

  1. Let me get this right. In 2006, the city went after the shotty engineering that certain parties delivered, and seeked only $1 million in damages while in fact the damage was $4 million, and led to a settlement that included immunity to any further lawsuits. No word on what the settlement dollar amount was.
    It cost the city (taxpayers) $4 million to remedy the shotty engineering, yet the shotty engineers got away with settling for $1 minus an undisclosed discount, and were guaranteed that they were not going to be on the hook for any further discoveries of further shotty work.
    Sorry, but this all sounds like either total incompetence, weak, soft, decision making, or else total corruption.
    I think the ultimate problem is that the decision makers ultimately felt that they themselves aren’t the ones having to pay out of their pocket, but that it’s just the tax payers that are going to have to pay. In other words, the ones that were in charge, and possibly still are in charge (I don’t know) didn’t/aren’t working for us the tax payers very responsibly.
    It’ll all just blow over, eh? I think I’ve predicted this over a year ago, right here on Stittsville central. I can smell this nonsense from miles away.
    So, end of day, this pool remains a crappy design! The kiddy area is attached to the lane swimming area. As such the kids area is the same temperature as the lane swimming area, which is too cold to be comfortable. The results are clear. See how few people are in the (kids) pool most of the time?
    Compare that to Kanata’s Richcraft center. Nice and toasty warm…. What a abysmal failure, what poor design, what shotty implementation. Shame on the (various?) companies that put it all together.

    1. Joe – that’s not quite right. In 2006 the city sued for $1-million, which was settled out of court.

      The $4-million repair happened in 2014-2015, well after the original action.

      1. That’s what’s I meant. The city sued for $1 million, but the actual amount received is completely undisclosed and it seems kept a secret.
        The in 14/15 $4 million had to be spent to remedy the shotty corner cutting “engineering”, but no lawsuit was possible, but that first shotty “settlement” included immunity for any subsequent findings.
        It’s all very shady. Oh well, just raise them property taxes and the money’s there, eh?

  2. I don’t think Larry O’Brien would have sued for a million and settle out of court and exempt the parties from the rest of their responsibilities. He would be running this City like a business, like I run my household. But I’m not holding the current mayor responsible either. I hold responsible the lawyers that the City contracted.
    If my home were wired incorrectly and my furnace blew up as a result, I would not settle for the furnace being repaired. The whole house would still need to be rewired at the contractors expense.

  3. Someone should lose their job for this. We taxpayers aren’t an open purse for any to take what they want. If the contract was so poorly written in that we could not recover shoddy work, they should be fired. If the building inspectors did not detect poor workmanship during construction, they should be fire. We desperately need to let contract bidders know that we are a walk over. I look at the last couple of bridges or walkways that we lost big money as examples.

  4. So water infiltration and corrosion were discovered in 2010, but repairs weren’t started until 2013? My kids took swim lessons there during those 3 years. Glad to know the city is looking out for the safety of our kids, the lifeguards, and all who visited the pool during this time. (Insert sarcasm)

Leave a Reply