A taxpayer funded paving project in northern Cape Breton netted two construction companies a $400,000 windfall, followed by a legal fight between the two to determine how to divvy up the bonus money.
In 2012, the provincial government decided to repave the road to Bay St. Lawrence with its provincial crew.
Cape Breton company D. W. Matheson won the contract to provide asphalt ingredients and gravel, subcontracting to Alva Construction of Antigonish to help with the job.
But the initial cost of trucking material 157 kilometres to a nearby staging area was cut down significantly when a much closer quarry was found, according to court documents.
That meant a windfall for the two companies and an argument arose over how much each should receive. There had been conversations about the money, but at the end of the contract, the recollections of the two sides didn’t add up.
The dispute was settled by a judge last week, but the case raises questions about value for taxpayers dollars.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal said this contract was awarded in a public competition through the province's tendering process.
It was completed as required, and the department won't comment further on what it considers a private dispute between the two contractors.