River Hebert project delayed again

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Major issue with second tender

RIVER HEBERT – There’s another delay with calling of tenders to complete renovations at River Hebert District High.

“We are working with the board to help resolve the issue with the contractor that is holding up the tender,” Education Department spokesman Dan Harrison said in an email to the Amherst Daily News. “The people of River Hebert must be disappointed but the department wants to assure them that this school remains a priority and funding for the project is protected.

“We want the school to provide the best education possible for the students and remain the heart of the community.”

After several months of waiting, River Hebert students, staff and parents thought their troubles were over when Education Minister Ramona Jennex announced in October that tenders for the stalled renovation project would be called in November.

The first tender on the school came in more than 45 per cent over budget and the province went to work with the contractor to overcome several issues.

Students have been attending classes in a half-finished school since September. The school will become a Primary to Grade 12 facility when completed.

It’s unknown what the issue is this time, but Chignecto-Central Regional School Board spokeswoman Debbie Buott-Matheson said it’s a major one.

“The second tender has not gone out yet because of some issues,” Buott-Matheson said. “It’s completely unexpected and something we are trying to work through with the Department of Education.”

Buott-Matheson understands concerns in the community and said the board is doing everything it can to move the project forward.

Former area county councillor John Reid sat on the project’s advisory committee, but has not heard a thing since the minister promised to call tenders.  He said community members are more than impatient with the pace of the project.

“The community has the same questions it has always had, is this project going to get completed?” Reid said.

Reid said contractors have told the province there isn’t enough money in the project to complete it and he said the longer the wait lasts the more expensive it’s going to cost.

“We’re pushing two years now with this and the cost is going to be a lot more now than it was then,” he said. “The province needs to ante up with the money to finish this project because the longer it goes the more people are going to be afraid for the future of the school.”

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Department of Education, River Hebert District High, Amherst Daily News Central Regional School Board

Geographic location: River Hebert, Chignecto

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Recent comments

  • P White
    March 06, 2013 - 11:19

    Half Finished School ?? they better look again maybe 20% complete. I bet the goverment wasted enough money on this project doing review after review to have completed the job at a 45% over run. 45% over run is hard to believe, if this is the case someone in the goverment did not do there job properly and should be held accountable. What really suprises me is why the NDP Goverment needs to drag there heels so long over a 2 or 3 million Dollar over run. They went behind closed doors one night and gave away 300 million Dollars of Tax payers money to save a pulp mill.

  • Janice Mills
    March 05, 2013 - 19:15

    I made a few calls to the Dept of Ed. and the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board prior to the start of the 2012-13 school year. The Dept. blamed the Board and the Board blamed the Dept. There were no satisfactory answers or information. Now in this news article we see the blame being put on an anonymous contractor for holding up the tender process. C’mon, somebody needs fess up and just get something done. Unexpected major issues? The money for this school renovation was earmarked by the MacDonald government prior to Dexter’s party win in 2009. Do they think costs ever go down? How can that be unexpected four years later? Well as a working parent of two children enrolled in River Hebert District Schools I can say for sure that prices don’t go down…at least not prices of goods and services that families need and rely upon. After years…not to mention the money that must have been spent…on the school closure process, promises were made. We teach our children to keep their promises. We teach our children to be patient. We're tired of assurances. That school renovation project needs to be completed.

  • Former Student
    March 05, 2013 - 11:35

    I can’t believe that Amherst is tearing down the old legion at a cost of under $50 thousand. I know the part of the River Hebert High School that they tore down was bigger, but not all that much and it cost the tax payers over $ 3 million. That 60 times as mush. I think some investigation should be called for in this case. So they say it’s the reason there are no funds left to build the new one.

  • Bruce McNab
    March 05, 2013 - 11:17

    What does our new councillor have to say about this? Why will the school board not tell the River Hebert people what the "big issue" is. Be up front and tell the facts to all. Have a public meeting at RHDH gym and let us all know.

  • Irene Greeno
    March 05, 2013 - 09:39

    As a parent, the education that is being provided is top-notch. It's the people in charge of the building renovations that are failing the students miserably. Debbie Buott-Matheson says she understands the concerns of the community, but I haven't seen her at RHDH, trying to cope with half a school.

  • Earl
    March 05, 2013 - 06:16

    I think as a community, We should rally in front of the NDP office.