A lawsuit over Winnipeg’s water-treatment plant has evaporated after the city took too long to file a statement of claim, depriving taxpayers of a chance to recover up to $20 million — and costing a city lawyer their job.
In 2015, the city went to court against consulting firm AECOM, PCL Construction and eight other companies over leaks, heaving roofs, failing generators and explosions at the Winnipeg Water Treatment Plant, a $300-million facility located in the RM of Springfield, east of the Red River Floodway.
The state-of-the-art treatment plant, which opened in 2009, upgraded Winnipeg’s water quality through the addition of a series of additional purification measures, including ultraviolet radiation and biologically active carbon filtration, that remove algae, micro-organisms and potential pathogens such as cryptosporidium.
According to a lawsuit filed in December 2015, some of the buildings at the water-treatment complex began failing within three years due to what the city alleged were design deficiencies and structural problems.
Winnipeg chief administrative officer Doug McNeil said the city hoped to recover somewhere between $6 million and $20 million if the legal action succeeded.
Instead, the lawsuit was adjourned last week, when defendants pointed out the city failed to launch the legal action within a six-year timeframe allowed for this sort of legal action.
“We missed the limitation period,” McNeil said Monday in an interview. “In order to file a statement of claim in this instance, you have to file within six years of the cause or the deficiency.
“What happened is one of our lawyers didn’t do the research into when that period started and they missed the six-year deadline.”
McNeil said the city now has no recourse to attempt to recover…