On June 1, PortsToronto announced yet again the completion of the tunnel from the city to the Billy Bishop Toronto Centre Airport (BBTCA) starting with preliminary work in March 2012, a mere three years ago.
Not so, claimed PortsToronto chairman Mark McQueen. In what seems a bid for the Slow Tunnel Building Championship of the World, Mr. McQueen pointed out, the tunnel was first announced in 1935. He added that the tunnel was now closer than ever.
This is not the first time that the tunnel has been closer to completion than ever. First, PortsToronto, operating as the Toronto Port Authority, claimed an opening in Spring 2014, On Time and On Budget. Then no less an august personage than the prime minister of Canada also expected the tunnel to be operational in 2014, at least that’s what PortsToronto told him to say.
In June 2014, PortsToronto, aka Toronto Port Authority, hedged the bet a little with a completion date of winter 2014/2015.
In April 2015, PortsToronto expected the tunnel to be completed in late spring, which runs out in three weeks.
This time around, the PortsToronto chairman assures those losing sleep over the shifty date, that matters are well in hand.
“Late on Friday, May 29, 2015, the Independent Certifier issued a ‘substantial completion‘ certificate to PortsToronto, to PCL Construction, as well as to the proponent of the Public Private Partnership (P3), Forum Equity Partners”, states the PortsToronto press release. Substantial completion does not include
- commissioning one remaining elevator,
- completing final finishing work such as tiling,
- implementing a new Digital Out-of-Home advertising platform,
- completing passenger service enhancements,
- installing integral safety and security systems.
Ports Toronto did not identify the Independent Certifier nor the height of the bar for a project to be certified as substantially completed.
The final, final date of completion depends on when the insubstantial tasks listed above are signed off.
The timing of the PortsToronto announcement seems curious. On one hand, it could serve as advance warning to the thousands of attendees and participants for the PanAm Games that they’ll have to wait for a ferry when they fly Porter into the BBTCA, although Porter spokesman Brad Cicero says they won’t likely be flying Porter.
Perhaps it is preparation for Chairman McQueen to take his final bows at PortsToronto annual meeting on June 23 as the man who substantially completed the tunnel, should he decide to do no harm and bless the new Windsor-Detroit Border Authority (WDBA) with his full intentions, a job that Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and former PortsToronto CEO anointed him to.