More Transparency & Oversight Is Always Better

It is no secret that the City has seen its fair share of challenges. In particular, much has been said about the lack of oversight and mismanagement of some of our major capital projects, in particular, the big three - the Walterdale Bridge, the Metro Line and the 102 Avenue bridge.

As a City, we need to continuously ask ourselves where we can improve, how can we be more efficient, and how can we serve the citizens of Edmonton better. But even more important is ensuring we have a culture of transparency, good financial management and accountability. We need to ensure that all areas of business that the City is involved in, are scrutinized and given the proper oversight.

I am confident that we are moving in the right direction to ensure projects are being delivered on time, on budget, and of high quality. We have hired a new City Manager, established a department solely responsible for project delivery, and I have previously written about a number of processes and practices that have been put in place across the corporation to improve and enhance our ability to deliver. It is also important to note that of the 98 capital projects with a value of over $20 million that are currently under construction, 85% of these projects are on time or ahead of schedule, and 98% are within or under budget

As the city continues to advance an ambitious city building and capital planning agenda in addition to overcoming some recent high profile project management challenges, we need to improve our performance and delivery of projects while being even more accountable and transparent with our citizens and taxpayers.

On Tuesday, a new approach to how Administration approaches project management will be discussed. This new approach aims to provide better information when making capital investment decisions, improved information on project schedules and budgets and investing more in earlier design work. While I am optimistic that this new approach, coupled with everything else the City is doing to ensure we are getting these projects right, is moving us in the right direction, I believe that we can go one step further by bringing in some external expertise and oversight into how we procure and deliver projects, which is why I will be making the following motion on Tuesday:

Patterned after the LRT Governance Board utilized to oversee the procurement process of the Valley Line LRT and similar in duty to that of our Utility Advisor I propose the following: 

That Administration create a Capital Project Advisory Committee reporting to the Deputy City Manager of Integrated Infrastructure Services that will serve as additional expertise and best practice related to project procurement, design and engineering, project management, construction, and global intelligence gathering. A representative of the Capital Advisory Committee will provide status updates at appropriate quarterly capital updates to Council.