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Canadian Governments Shine as Flexible Sponsors of Improved Public Infrastructure

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More than thirty (30) projects registered on the Barchan Foundation site to date provide a sound indication of the success that Canada's provincial and local governments have had in flexibly delivering a variety of recent public infrastructure facilities. These projects include a broad mix of port, road, transit, airport, bridge, tunnel, energy, water, schools, and other public building projects.  All Six Key Delivery Methods in broad use across the world's public infrastructure portfolios are being selectively used in the development and renewal of Canadian infrastructure portfolios. 

Renew Canada magazine is Canada’s leading information source for infrastructure new, projects, and policy development, and publishes its Top 100 Infrastructure Projects each year. Mira Shenker, editor of Renew Canada, is keenly aware of the success that Canada’s transparent, competitive approach to infrastructure procurement and delivery has experienced in recent years. "Government entities like Infrastructure Ontario, PPP Quebec and Partnerships BC—and now PPP Canada Inc. at the federal level—have helped communicate to the private sector that there’s a healthy pipeline of credible projects coming to the marketplace. The one thing they’ve struggled with is creating that same level of confidence among members of the public. Canada’s jurisdictions have some of the most transparent and ethically administered governments in the world—VFM ("Value for Money") reports are fully available to the public. Yet, there’s still a level of discomfort among private citizens when it comes to private involvement in public works."

Interestingly, thirty-four (34) of Renew Canada's Top 100 List for 2010 are P3s.

Projects Focused on Life Cycle Delivery.

Public Finance.

Canadian governments at all levels are effectively using publicly funded Design Build Operate Maintain procurements to obtain public infrastructure facilities in which design is competitively integrated with the cost and convenience of both construction and long term operation and maintenance. Public financing is made through government commitments of funds over periods of 20 to 30 years, with ongoing payments tied to both availability and level of service. A notable example is the Confederation Bridge across the Northumberland Strait, which has been open for over twelve years.

More recent examples of this approach include the Kicking Horse Canyon Bridge (British Columbia), Edmonton's Anthony Henday Drive (both Northwest and Southeast), the Calgary NE Stoney Trail Ring Road, the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project (British Columbia), the Golden Ears Bridge (British Columbia), and the Canada Line transit project in Vancouver.

Flatiron Constructors, Inc. has successfully participated in several significant Canadian projects is also bullish on Canada’s transparent and competitive processes, including the Kicking Horse Bridge project in British Columbia.

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Mixed Public and Private Finance.

Also notable are a variety of life cycle delivery arrangements in which competitive award of contracts to design, build, operate & maintain public infrastructure facilities for 20-30 years has been quickly made through straightforward financial arrangements where government funding commitments during the construction phase are matched with competitively determined availability payments during the operations phase. Together, such commitments provide transparent mechanisms for private sector firms to finance long-term performance commitments. These types of projects registered in the Barchan Foundation database include the Alberta Schools I and II programs in Edmonton and Calgary, the Trans-Canada Highway 4 Lane Upgrade project in New Brunswick, the A-30 Project at Calgary's Airport, the Edmonton Clinic North at University of Alberta, and the Prince Rupert Port Expansion project.

Purely Private Sector Finance.

In addition to the successful repositioning of the Highway 407 ETR Project (Round 2) in Toronto as a privately financed concession, provincial governments have followed up with a few long-term agreements for private finance and operation of key pieces of public infrastructure, including the Restart of Bruce A Nuclear Generating Station and the Port Mann Bridge and Highway 1 Upgrade Project.

Projects Focused on Initial Delivery.

Canadian governments, at all levels, continue to use project deliver strategies focused on initial delivery only, including Design-Bid-Build and Design Build. Significant Design Build projects posted in the Barchan Foundation data base include the first incarnation of the Highway 407 ETR in Toronto, the Alberta Schools II program for high schools in Edmonton and Calgary, the Eastmain 1A Sarcelle/Rupert Generating Station (Quebec), the Niagara Tunnel Project, and the West LRT Line in Calgary.

Notable Design-Bid-Build projects include the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, the Richmond (British Columbia) Olympic Oval, the Vancouver Convention Center Expansion, the International Facilities at Calgary Airport, and the Edmonton International Airport Expansion.

Canada’s success in using each of the six key delivery methods in delivering major infrastructure is worthy of a closer look from policy makers across the globe.

Notes:

1. To view more information about the project delivery and procurement strategy followed on these projects, go to www.barchanfoundation.com .

Click on the Projects tab, then on the Advanced Search tab. Set the Country attribute to "Canada" and click Search.

2. To learn more about The Barchan Foundation, Inc. or to post interesting public infrastructure projects to the Barchan Foundation data base, please go to www.barchanfoundation.com .

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