Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Deputy Minister Blames Department for Delay of Bluenose Restoration

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Deputy Minister Blames Department for Delay of Bluenose Restoration

Article excerpt

Department criticized for Bluenose project

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HALIFAX - The senior bureaucrat in charge of the delayed and over-budget Bluenose II restoration says one of the main problems plaguing the project has been that the wrong government department was chosen to oversee the work in 2009.

David Darrow, the premier's deputy minister, told a legislative committee Wednesday that the Department of Culture and Heritage doesn't have the experts in place to manage such a complex capital project.

"I don't think (the department) was particularly well-positioned or qualified to undertake this project," Darrow told the public accounts committee.

"You really need the capacity to manage the project manager. To do that, you need to have people who have had experience in project management."

Darrow pulled together his own team of managers and advisers in May when Premier Stephen McNeil asked him to take over the project from Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince.

The project is more than two years behind schedule and $5 million over budget.

In January, McNeil said the restoration of the province's sailing ambassador had become such a mess that he called it a "boondoggle." He then asked the province's auditor general to investigate.

Darrow said Wednesday the Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department should have been put in charge when the project started because it has extensive project management and engineering experience, particularly when it comes to larger projects.

As for when the Bluenose II will be completed, Darrow said its faulty steering mechanism should be upgraded with hydraulics and completed by late October.

At that point, the famed schooner should be ready for sea trials, but Darrow said the plan is to have the ship return to its regular sailing schedule in May 2015.

The Bluenose II was supposed to return to sailing in the summer of 2012 after an extensive two-year rebuild that had a budget of $14. …

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