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Revised estimate says Hamilton’s Red Hill Valley Parkway Inquiry cost could top $28 million

A City of Hamilton staff report is suggesting council prepare to pay somewhere between $26 and $28 million in costs associated with the ongoing Red Hill Valley Parkway Inquiry. Global News

The City of Hamilton’s legal staff have notified councillors that estimated costs of the ongoing Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP) judicial inquiry are going up.

Originally, the city set aside $7 million in 2019 to cover the cost of the probe, which involves a 2013 report that raised concerns about the pavement’s “slipperiness.”

City solicitors are now asking councillors to approve a revised estimate of between $26 and $28 million plus additional disbursement costs.

Read more: Lawyer representing Red Hill Valley Parkway class-action ‘disappointed’ judge dismissed claim

So far the query has hit $18 million in costs to date.

“The city expects to incur an additional $7.8 million to $8.3 million in costs between July 2022 and March 2023,” staff said in a new report.

The report cites the commission’s rescheduling of several witnesses to September and October and the booking of additional interviews as part of increased costs.

Staff say other parts of the legal cost breakdown are not visible, but they have requests in to the Commission’s Counsel to provide additional details in hopes of monitoring potential future increases.

To date, the summary says about $9.4 million in counsel fees and disbursements account for more than half of the $18 million spent.

An estimated $6.3 million has gone to external legal fees, and another $1.5 million into city expenses for data collection and hosting.

The inquiry resumed in mid-July following a delay earlier in the month after Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel tested positive for COVID-19.

The Red Hill Valley Parkway Inquiry (RHVPI) began in late April and is centred around a 2013 city staff report on the surface of the roadway — a document that was allegedly buried for six years.

Read more: Red Hill Valley Parkway inquiry on hold as lead justice contracts COVID-19

The study suggested remedial action due to friction levels in some areas of the roadway being below safety standards.

Since the opening of the parkway in 2007, a number of crash victims and families of victims have argued improper design and maintenance of the parkway over the years has led to numerous incidents.

City council has long insisted the report was never shared with them.

The first part of the probe has been focused on questions tied to the construction of the parkway, friction testing conducted by Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, consultant and staff reports as well as the discovery of the 2013 report.

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