Report from Jan 25th NCC Board Meeting

Post date: Jan 26, 2012 5:24:32 PM

The topic of Phase 2B of the interprovincial crossing study was on the agenda of this board meeting. New information revealed during the meeting presentation (given by the lead consultant - Angela):

1. The project is behind schedule by several months. The next round (Round 2) of public consulations which were planned to happen in February are now projected to happen in April or May.

2. Informal meetings will be held with adjacent neighbourhoods for particular sub-sections of the various proposed alignments within each of the 3 corridors. These meetings are in addition to and will be held prior to the next round of public consultations. These are new meetings and are referred to as “Focused Segment Community Meetings”.

3. Some details emerged about the evaluation committee who will (after the Round 2 of public consulations are completed) perform the evaluation/comparison among the 3 corridors and recommend the preferred corridor. This committee will be composed of 3 people from each of the 5 partners (NCC, Province of ON, Province of Quebec, City of Ottawa, City of Gatineau) plus 3 people from the consultant team, and 2 more people selected from the public. The public members must be experts in a relevant field with 10+ yrs of experience. This team of people will be required to sign non-disclosure agreements and will probably do the evaluation over a multi-day meeting sometime between spring and fall 2012.

4. The NCC will hire a fairness auditor whose role is to give the public assurance that the consultants executed the study with impartiality and in accordance with the study design that was agreed to in Phase 2A.

It was good to see at this board meeting a reasonable number of questions to the consultant from some board members. The main questions could be summarized as follows:

a) several board members asked to understand better the 2 different techniques that will be used to compare/evaluate between the corridors (ie. the quantitative and the qualitative techniques) and to understand how these compared to the methods used in Phase 1.

b) one board member was concerned the hiring of the fairness auditor sets a precedent which will drive up costs for all successive consultations. She was told that this was a fairly common part of many public consultations now – particularly in provincial and federal projects.

c) a board member asked what were the problems in Phase 1 of the process which are being managed differently in the current phase. Marie Lemay jumped in to attempt to shut that line of questioning down as inappropriate. However after some discussion it was mentioned that what many people were unhappy about in phase 1 is that there was no public input allowed on the weighting of the different evaluation criteria and that in this Phase 2B study the public would have input into the weightings in round 2 of the consultations. The 2nd major change in Phase 2B is that both quantitative AND qualitative evaluation techniques would be used.

d) questions were asked about why the names of the individuals appointed to the evaluation committee (see point 3 above) would not be made public. The intention is to protect them from the potential of lobbying from the public.