British Columbia

Company ousted from $1B North Shore wastewater treatment project suing Metro Vancouver

Acciona Wastewater Solutions LP said the regional government wrongfully cancelled construction contracts mid-project, despite good faith efforts to solve the many issues.

Acciona is seeking $250 million in damages and unpaid bills for wrongful and unnecessary termination

A 2021 photo shows construction at the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant. (Acciona)

The company ousted from building the $1-billion North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant is suing Metro Vancouver for $250 million in damages and unpaid bills. 

In documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Acciona Wastewater Solutions LP said the regional government wrongfully and unnecessarily cancelled construction contracts mid-project, despite good faith efforts to solve the many issues.

"Metro Vancouver claims it terminated the North Shore contract because of delays and cost overruns in completing the wastewater plant, ignoring the fact that its own administration of the project was a major cause of most of the problems, and changing contractors mid-project will cost taxpayers more and take longer to complete the project," said a release from the company. 

The company claims it was not responsible for most of the 1,000-plus modifications made to the original project, nor the resulting delays and cost increases.

It said the extra steel needed to ensure the structure was resilient to earthquakes pushed the budget over the $1 billion mark.

In October last year, Metro Vancouver announced it was cancelling Acciona's contracts after learning costs had doubled from the original estimate of $500 million to $1 billion.

At the time, the project was only 36 per cent complete and long past the original 2020 completion date. 

In a statement to CBC, Metro Vancouver Chief Administrative Officer Jerry Dobrovolny said Acciona signed fixed-price and fixed-date contracts, and despite revisions to the agreed timeline, still failed to meet key construction milestones. 

"They also asked for a further increase in budget which would almost double the original contract price," said Dobrovolny. 

"Metro Vancouver is confident that its decision to terminate was justified. Metro Vancouver will defend against Acciona's claims, including the unfounded allegations of misconduct," he said.

Metro Vancouver has since hired PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. and designer AECOM to take over the project. 

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