An Apology

July 14, 2014


At Council tonight, I read the following statement with the support of Guelph City Council:


In July 2006, Urbacon was awarded a $42 million contract as general contractor for the construction of City Hall and the Provincial Offences Administration (POA) Court. On September 19, 2008, the City terminated Urbacon’s right to work to completion and Urbacon was ordered to leave the site. On March 31, 2014, a court ruling found the City did not have the right to terminate the contract with Urbacon and a trial to determine damages is set to begin in October. Click here for a timeline of events.

After the damages trial, the City will consider the status of the appeal.

Regardless of Council’s next steps, this capital project will cost more than was budgeted for. For that, on behalf of the City of Guelph, I want to apologize to the people of Guelph.

The construction of City Hall has involved four terms of Council and many senior City employees, some no longer employed with the City of Guelph. Collectively, we are responsible for this project.

There have been many lessons learned as a result of these events. While we can’t undo what happened with the City Hall project, we can – and are – making sure it’s not repeated.


I personally believe everyone at the City acted with the best intentions for the community. The motive behind the contract termination was to protect taxpayers from a project that had gone off the rails, and a contract that also included the renovation to old City Hall to become a courthouse – a project that had not yet begun. None of this changes the fact that the project has exceeded its budget.

To minimize the impact on local taxpayers and protect the City’s financial position, the additional costs will be accommodated within our existing capital budget envelope.

City Hall, Market Square, and the Courthouse that is housed in the old City Hall are serving the community well.



About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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2 Comments on “An Apology”

  1. Stacey M Says:

    Wow. An unexpected statement from government. Contracts of this size always include elements that sometimes spiral out of control and the lurk of litigation. And I can’t argue with “The motive behind the contract termination was to protect taxpayers from a project that had gone off the rails…”

  2. Ryan Donahue Says:

    I thought council received guidance from their lawyers before embarking on their contract termination decision… So aren’t they somehow liable?

    It seems to me that one sides’ lawyers are just better than the others… And taxpayers foot the bill.

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