The Auditor General of the City of Quebec is of the opinion that the slowness of the Legault government in approving the route of the tram could inflate the final bill of the structuring project. According to Michel Samson, it may already be too late to avoid cost overruns.
«The more we delay, the more it will cost», Confirms the Auditor General of the City of Quebec, Michel Samson.
In its annual report which includes a “lookoutOn the structuring public transport network project, he assesses the impact of a year of delay on the launch of the project at $ 100 million.
When the negotiations drag on
According to Michel Samson, the protracted negotiations between the Coalition d’avenir Québec (CAQ) and the City for the finalization of the route represent a “worry».
«It’s not the project office’s fault, we agree, but it will lead to additional costs», He laments. “We’re gonna have other decisions to make».
As the project budget is limited to 3.3 billion by the government, the auditor estimates that the City of Quebec will have no other choice but to further cut in the scope of the network to alleviate the increase in costs.
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11 people infected with a variant, Quebec adapts its strategy
Quebec now has 11 people infected with a worrying variant of the coronavirus on its territory. While there were eight, last Friday, the Laboratoire de santé publique du Québec (LSPQ) told Le Devoir on Monday evening that three other cases have since been confirmed. In order to accelerate the search for these cases carrying a variant under surveillance, Quebec will deploy in the coming days a new screening strategy which will consist in submitting all the cases that have been declared positive for COVID-19 by a laboratory. hospital to a second PCR test to identify those infected with a British, South African or Brazilian variant. This strategy should be more efficient and faster than genetic sequencing to screen in Quebec for people infected with one of the three variants circulating in the world, because the results of this PCR test are obtained in 24 hours while those from the Virus genome sequencing of a sample is not available until 7 to 10 days later. In addition, since sequencing is a complex and expensive technique, only 8.5% of cases declared positive can be subjected to such a genetic analysis.
Rush to thrift stores
Many people on a budget were looking forward to this moment. Queues formed in front of several thrift stores as soon as they opened, Monday morning, after a month and a half of closure. Ginette Fortin was waiting with about fifteen people, around 11:30 a.m., to enter the Values Village, rue Ontario, in order to get her underwear. “I need me. And I have no Internet, no computer, ”she stressed. Ms. Fortin is not the only one to have mentioned that she does not shop on the Internet. This is also the case of Gary Carp, who was not far from her in the queue. “I’m missing jogging pants, pajamas. I couldn’t buy any… Yet it is essential, ”he said. Selina Burgess, she says to have prevented herself from acquiring new clothes almost two months, since she buys everything second hand, in principle. Several thrift stores such as Renaissance and the Values Village did not offer delivery or online sales services.
Poor pandemic reports for high school students
The pandemic has boosted the failure rate in high school, especially in mathematics, where a quarter of students did not achieve a passing grade during the first half of the school year, reveal school principals joined by Le Duty. The pandemic shock, however, spared elementary schools, which report relatively stable success rates compared to previous years, report our sources in all regions of Quebec. The Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Service Center (CSSMB), in western Montreal, seems a happy exception in this mixed picture: the 50,000 elementary and secondary students generally did better than last year in this sector of the metropolis, learned Le Devoir. Elsewhere in Quebec, the number of failures has doubled, and even more, in certain high school subjects. School principals make this observation in the light of the first report of this school year out of the ordinary, which was given to parents last week. “We now know beyond any doubt that at the end of the school year, high school students will not be at the level where they should be in normal times,” warns Nicolas Prévost, president of the Fédération québécoise des directions d ‘ establishment (FQDE). “After this first bulletin, we can identify the students who need the tutoring program announced by the Ministry of Education. Will there be enough tutors? I have the impression that we will have to make choices [pour attribuer les tuteurs aux élèves ayant les plus grandes difficultés] », He explains.
Quebec City plans to start work on the tramway in 2022, but the consortium selection process, which should stretch over one year, cannot begin without the approval of the CAQ.
Michel Samson also notes that the City has postponed updating its risk provisions in order to take into account possible modifications to the tram route.
In his 2019 report, the auditor characterized the planned contingency reserves as “minimum».
«I think it was wiser to wait until we have the results of the discussions underway with the government», Admits Michel Samson. However, he believes that if the site is to go ahead, the project office will have to review its risk provisions from 2021.
Amendments and communication
The official opposition to the Town Hall is not overly worried about the impact of the delays that accumulate in the tram file, even if the city’s auditor general fears that inflation will inflate costs of the site.
According to Chief Jean-François Gosselin, the Legault government is not to blame for the ongoing negotiations. The delays are rather attributable, according to him, to the mayor Régis Labeaume and to the “package of changes»Brought to the project, including withdrawal of the trambus section in summer 2020 just before the BAPE hearings.
«He is the one who does not respect the conditions that everyone knows, the conditions set by the government from the start», He says about the respect of the budget, the service of the suburbs and the connection with the South Shore.
On the side of Democracy Quebec, the leader considers that communication remains the main problem of the town hall with regard to the tramway project. “It seems it’s only in the mayor’s head that it’s clear», Launches Jean Rousseau about the route and the mitigation measures that will be proposed during the work. According to him, the mayor is “a bad seller”, Which has the effect of undermining the social acceptability of the project.