MINORITY assemblyman Farley Augustine has questioned the sum of $200 million which is expected to be the overall cost of the new Scarborough Secondary School.
In presenting the THA’s $4.71 billion package on Monday in the Assembly Legislature, Scarborough, Secretary of Finance and the Economy Joel Jack revealed the assembly will spend $50 million this fiscal year to begin construction of the new school. He added a proposed site has been identified and a geotechnical survey is to be done.
The school has been plagued by numerous challenges over the years, including land slippage. Jack said the estimated the overall cost of reconstructing the school is $200 million.
Contributing to the budget debate on Thursday, Augustine said while he is happy some attention is finally being paid to the school, he wondered how Jack arrived at the figure of $200 million.
“When we look at the estimates for the reconstruction of Scarborough Secondary, all we have in the estimates is $50 million, which means that all we are budgeting for is a sod-turning ceremony, because that $50 million, based on the explanatory note, is for acquiring the land, doing geotechnical surveys, architectural designs and consultancy,” he said.
Augustine asked: “So how did the Secretary arrive at $200 million, when we are now budgeting for geotechnical surveys, budgeting for acquisition of the land, budgeting for architectural design?” The Speyside/L’Anse Fourmi/Parlatuvier representative added: “That is why we does end up in problems.”
Augustine recalled in the 2016 THA budget, it was said Scarborough RC School would cost $15 million. “But by the time Scarborough RC done, it cost near to $100 million…and then we had to pay a next million or so to fix tiles. That speaks to poor budgeting. Look at the percentage of increase.
“We may very well be throwing away money and wasting money based on how we plan and how we project things.” Saying Scarborough Secondary School deserved better, Augustine recalled he had spoken about the issue in his first budget response.
“Trust me, it is scary, the thought that we could be here one day and hear that our school and children slip away.” He predicted if $50 million will be spent on the school in this fiscal cycle, “It means that in this fiscal year, 2021, all we will get is a sod-turning ceremony.”