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New policy designed to provide council greater oversight on capital projects

City capital projects will soon receive greater oversight thanks to council’s approval of a new project management policy framework on Monday evening.

The Organizational Capital Project Management policy passed at the October 4 council meeting represents the latest step in a two-phase approach to enhance project governance and give council a better understanding of city project lifecycle management and practices.

The initiative grew out a review of the George Street Parkade construction project. Originally budgeted at $12.6 million, the cost is now around $34 million. A legal review of the project has revealed that the original contract signed by the city in early 2018 was not vetted by city staff or council. In addition, the escalating costs of the project were not reported to council in a timely manner and it took prodding from Coun. Brian Skakun to get the full scope of the budget overruns.

The policy framework was a key action item in council’s plan to streamline capital project administration.

The policy framework endorsed by council includes process maps, process descriptions, responsibility assignments, and other tools to make city project delivery more efficient, consistent, and cost-effective. The next steps will involve creating an operating manual and training city staff to apply the new principles to capital programs and projects. Council will receive a project completion update once phase two ends later this year in December.

At the August 30 Council meeting, administration provided council with an update on the significant capital projects that are currently under construction in Prince George. Of the $176 million worth of capital projects currently underway, only one, the new downtown pool, was projected over budget, and two were listed as “under review.”

Two projects were also listed as behind schedule, and one was labelled as “needs attention.”

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