Landscaping association says 'poor workmanship' glaring at Victoria Park

A group that represents landscapers in the province has major concerns about work that's being done to redesign Victoria Park in St. John's.

City says it's seeking update from consultant, insists tendering process was done appropriately

Michael Murray is president of Landscape Newfoundland and Labrador. (Paula Gale/CBC)

A group that represents landscapers in the province has major concerns about work that's being done to redesign Victoria Park in St. John's.

Landscape Newfoundland and Labrador president Michael Murray says several residents expressed concerns about the appearance of the work, which prompted Landscape N.L. members to take a look.

Murray shared this photo with CBC, which he says shows bricks that have not been properly laid on a walkway in Victoria Park. (Submitted by Michael Murray)

Murray said the certified members came back with a long list of deficiencies, many of which raise safety concerns at Victoria Park.

"It's just amazing when you start going through this to see the workmanship, or the lack of, in doing this," he told the St. John's Morning Show

"It's not sustainable for the long-term."

Some of the main concerns include gaps in brick work, tripping hazards, boulders not sunk low enough, grading issues, and fence construction that he says isn't secure or sustainable.

Murray says this photo shows that steel posts have not been laid squarely on the concrete foundations, and is a clear example of poor workmanship. (Submitted by Michael Murray)

Murray said it's clear the city went with the lowest bidder for the tender, and didn't enforce a set of specifications or have proper inspections carried out. He insists Landscape N.L. isn't being unnecessarily critical and that anyone who walks through the park would see glaring issues.

"You don't have to be a landscape professional to see these," he said. 

"When you have grade issues that aren't being met, when posts are not sitting squarely on concrete foundations to be sustainable, it's pretty clear that this is poor workmanship right through."

Murray says the topsoil was not properly prepared before plants were put in the ground. (Submitted by Michael Murray)

Murray said a substantial amount of remediation work needs to be done to make the Victoria Park renewal project last for years to come.

Ultimately, he said he would like to see a more open process for selecting who gets to do this kind of work, instead of just going with the cheapest option.

City response

In an email to CBC, the City of St. John's said staff will be contacting the consultant for an update on the Victoria Park project. It also said that all tenders for the work have been awarded in accordance with public tendering laws.

The city goes on to say that the park is still under construction.

"Until the full scope of the project is completed, there may be deficiencies that are currently being addressed."

The city said it will not pay the contractor for deficient or incomplete work, and asked Murray to get in touch to discuss his concerns.

With files from St. John's Morning Show