Bombardier says it's 'doing everything' to finish Waterloo region's LRT order

Bombardier officials say the company is "doing everything" to satisfy Waterloo region's LRT order and that the company is not solely to blame for the delayed launch of rapid transit in the region.

'We can totally understand the frustration,' writes spokesman Eric Prud'Homme

Bombardier says changes to the company's structure will allow it to meet new commitments, including the delivery of 14 light rail vehicles by June 2018. (Jackie Sharkey/CBC)

Officials with Bombardier say the company is "doing everything" to satisfy Waterloo region's LRT order and that the company is not solely to blame for the delayed launch of rapid transit in the region.

"We can totally understand the frustration," wrote Eric Prud-Homme, director of public relations with Bombardier in an email statement to CBC News. "However, one must understand that these projects are complex."

The region originally contracted Bombardier to deliver 14 vehicles for the LRT by the end of 2016, but by December, only a fraction of the vehicles had arrived.

"We can talk about the past and the fact that we did not meet our original deadline," Prud-Homme said. "However, we are looking forward."

Prud-Homme said the success of LRT in Waterloo region cannot happen without the coordination of multiple parties, "of which Bombardier is only one element."

"We are doing everything to meet our commitments and we would be doing the same even if there were no penalties associated with delays," he said.

'We're going to meet that deadline'

In December, Bombarder signed a new agreement with Metrolinx, which included wording about the delivery of Waterloo region's vehicles. 

"We signed a contract which stipulates that Bombardier commits to the delivery of 14 cars next June," he said, "and we're going to meet that deadline."

Prud'Homme said the company has seen a number of changes over the past few years, including the arrival of a new president and the nomination of a chief operation officer. 

"We have made significant changes, deployed people and invested in our facilities to guarantee we could meet our revised delivery commitments," he said.

So far, only four light rail vehicles have been delivered to Waterloo region. Prud'Homme confirmed that one vehicle is in transit, two are ready to ship, three are being tested and four are near completion. 

Region still pursuing costs for delay

Tom Galloway, councillor for the Region of Waterloo, said the region is still intending to "pursue" costs incurred from the delay and liquidated damages. 

"We haven't decided we are going to take legal action. We've just decided that we are going to pursue the costs," he said on Tuesday. 

"That can happen through a number of sources. It could be legal action, and Bombardier is well aware." 

Galloway said the region is not pursuing any of the costs currently because they still don't know what the total pricetag will be.

He said it will be at least a year until the region is able to come up with an accurate estimate of the amount. 

"There is no lawsuit. If we could avoid a lawsuit, that would certainly be preferred," Galloway said. 

"When the time is right, we expect them to pay for the costs associated to the delay."