An Advisory Task Force for the Washington Street Project
Terms of Reference for Advisory Group on Washington Street Project
Council has set the composition and Terms of Reference (ToRs) for an advisory task force that will assist with oversight of the Washington Street Infrastructure Renewal Project in 2016.
At a Special Meeting of Council held on Friday, December 4, attended by all Council members, draft terms of reference were amended after discussion and finally voted upon.
Discussion on the purpose of the group reflected a firm intention that the advisory task force should not feel entitled to give direction, but should act as a resource for the City’s representative — a sort of think-tank, free to offer ideas and insights born of experience for the City’s representative to consider — among all the other things to be considered.
Who will be in the Task Force:
The group will consist of the City’s representative (“the Owner’s rep” who will be the overall overseer of the project), plus one member of Council, up to 4 citizens with engineering qualifications and / or experience in managing major construction projects, and one staff member as needed.
Council discussed briefly whether or not the City’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) should participate in the Task Force; the CAO herself was not present to offer any information about her experience with such projects, or any other comments.
Task Force members will be appointed by the Mayor and Council, and an appointment may be revoked by a motion of Mayor and Council. The term of the group will be determined by Council.
The ToRs state, “The Task Force shall act in an advisory capacity, and duties shall include but not be limited to reviewing with the Owner’s (the City’s) representative:
· the tender package before publication,
· the accepted bids,
· the contract managing process,
· the overall engineering, construction, schedules, reporting, and necessary change orders.
Lines of communication were defined as well: the City’s representative (the “Owner’s Rep” — not the Council representative) will be the sole member reporting to Council, and will be the sole member dealing directly with the Project Manager, the engineering firm, the contractor, and consultants working on the project.
However, the ToRs state that the “Council representative will act as liaison to Council.” When queried about the distinction between “reporting to” council, which duty is restricted to the City’s representative, and the Council member’s role of “acting as liaison” to Council, Councillor Lloyd McLellan explained to your reporter that the Council member might discuss with Council any potential issues of a more political nature.
Communication to the public about the project will not be part of the Task Force duties; Council will communicate with the general public. But the City representative will have a duty to communicate directly with business owners and citizens who will be directly affected by the inevitable disruption of normal access or other services during the project.
Mayor Kathy Moore stated that Council will be advertising to invite applications for volunteer positions on the Advisory Task Force.
Before the Task Force discussion, Moore appointed Councillor Andy Morel to act as Library Liaison in place of McLellan, to relieve McLellan of that duty in view of the considerable number of meetings he will attend because he has agreed to be the primary representative to the Regional District in place of Moore — who has now taken on the role of alternative representative. Moore and McLellan have switched roles at the Regional District.
Council then recessed to an in camera session, and your reporter squished home in the rain and slush wearing her YakTrax, being appalled at how dark it was already at a quarter after four in the afternoon and wishing (as usual) that we could stay on Daylight Savings Time all year.