Change to Moncton parking deal remains a mystery
Audit finds mayor, city clerk may have unknowingly signed contract for 25 years of free parking
The City of Moncton has released an audit into a controversial parking contract it signed with a developer back in 2002.
That contract originally gave 385 free parking spots downtown to a Toronto developer for 10 years.
However, there is still no clear explanation as to how the deal for free parking was extended to 25 years.
"A key point in the discussion related to the parking lease agreement is whether the contract presented to city council on Feb. 4, 2002 was the same contract that was signed by the mayor and city clerk on March 26, 2002," states the auditor's report.
The 385 parking spots were given to a numbered company that is a partnership between Moncton'sAshford Properties and Toronto's Verdiroc. The same developer built the Rogers call centre in downtown Moncton.
The auditor tried to find out what a lot of city councillors have been trying to figure out — how did the deal go from 10 years of free parking to 25 years without council knowing about it?
Much of the material obtained by CBC through a request under New Brunswick's Right to Information Act has been redacted.
The city says that was done at the request of third parties
The auditor notes that Moncton's lawyer was aware the 10-year deal was not acceptable to the firm that financed the Rogers facility.
However, that information was never passed on to councillors.
"The contracts were prepared by Verdiroc and should have been presented to the city's legal services department for review," states the report. "The city solicitor does not recall being presented with the version of the final signed document."
The auditor notes that current internal measures to inform the mayor and clerk council had authorized contracts to be signed were not in place at the time.
"As a result, it is possible … the contract was presented directly to the clerk and mayor for signature," states the auditor's report.
The report concludes there is no evidence the revised parking agreement was distributed to city council between Feb. 4 and Feb. 18, 2002.