Contractor disputes letter sent to/posted by District of Barriere

Letter to the editor from Paul Morris - Contractor disputes letter sent to/posted by District of Barriere

To the editor;

Re: Feb. 27, 2014, issue, page 8 article ‘Road contractor brings concerns to Barriere council meeting’, which included excerpts from a letter presented at the council meeting that was sent by Murray Purcha and Son Ltd to the District of Barriere.

As I am the contractor that Mr. Purcha directed his rampage to through a letter that he sent to the District of Barriere, which was subsequently posted for public information on the district’s web site, with excerpts from this letter being published in a report on the district’s Feb. 18, 2014, council meeting by this newspaper, I feel that it only appropriate that the taxpayers and people of Barriere get the facts about these concerns of Mr. Purcha’s towards the other private contractors he makes mention of.  Perhaps he has also forgotten that he too is a private contractor to the district.

• Mr. Purcha expressed concern about a gouge in a driveway and who was responsible.  He also criticized how the driveway had been cross-plowed,  and that the road way had been left with 3-4 inches of ice patches.

The actual fact is that it is not a gouge but a scratch, and no material had been removed from the driveway.  Also, if Mr. Purcha had been doing his job effectively the district would not have had to hire a contractor to come and remove the ice from the road.  This particular piece of roadway cannot be salted because the salt runs into the drain holes and kills the bacteria in the septic treatment plant, thus causing the tax payer more money to treat and haul the septic away. As the road maintenance contractor, Mr. Purcha should had known this as he has 32 years of experience.  If in fact it was us who caused any damages to this driveway, as a confident and caring contractor, it will be fixed.

• Mr. Purcha criticized the district about jobs not put out for bid.

The fact is, we have bid on the snow removal contract and the backhoe contract, which have been posted on the district website. I do not believe it to be the district’s fault that Mr. Purcha can’t or won’t look at postings on the district’s web site. I also don’t feel that it is the district’s fault that Mr. Purcha states Murray Purcha and Son Ltd. do not have enough work to hire someone steady or get someone to work full time.

• Mr. Purcha has concerns about the equipment used to remove snow in Fadear Park.

The district has contacted Dawson Construction again, who installed the pathways, verifying that vehicles such as pickups and backhoes will cause no damage in winter months. Dawson and their engineers stated that there is no danger where these types of vehicles are being used in the park, perhaps Mr. Purcha knows more than the experts know.

• Mr. Purcha mentions about liability insurance for private contractors.

Why does he need $5 million liability and other private contracts only need $3 million to contract for the district? The contract is determined on the possible liability of damages, and also the size of the contract.  When the contract went out to tender for winter road maintenance it stated that the contractor must have $10 million dollars liability. As the awarded contractor, why does Mr. Purcha only carry $5 million liability, as he has stated in his letter?  This would mean he is under insured.

• Mr. Purcha mentions the manor in which cleaning around fire hydrants is done, stating “..I would do it with a bobcat and a Mexican shovel”.What the hell is a Mexican shovel? Mr. Purcha, we now live in the 20th Century, and prejudice comments like this are not acceptable.  It is embarrassing to have comments like this on our district’s website or in our newspaper.  Is that really the image we want people to reflect on Barriere as?  But, back to business at hand, we do use a blade and a snow shovel with a spotter (a second person) to remove snow around hydrants.  Mr. Purcha, if you are concerned about the shut offs in front of the hydrants, then perhaps you should not grade at ground level two feet from the hydrants.

• Mr. Purcha mentions about seniors in our community getting stuck, or slipping in front or beside the post office.

Yes, I agree, these spots have been neglected.  But Mr. Purcha must have forgotten that these spots are under his contract to maintain.  So therefore, 100 per cent of the responsibility for this area is yours, not the post offices, or the other private contractors.   Shame on you Mr. Purcha, you deserved to get a piece of someone’s mind.

• Mr. Purcha mentions about the rough roads, such as Station Road, etcetera, and if something could be done about this?

I do believe this falls under Murray Purcha and Son Ltd’s winter road maintenance contract.  So, instead of making a big deal about it, just do it.  Your winter contract is winter road maintenance, not just snow removal.

In closure I would like to respond to comments made at the District of Barriere council meeting on March 3, 2014, that Mr. Purcha did not attend.  I asked council why lies, manipulated truths and prejudice remarks are allowed to be posted on the District of Barriere’s public web site?

Mayor Humphreys instantly stated, that if you write a letter to the mayor, the council and the CAO of the District of Barriere the letter has to be posted on their web site.

I believe this statement is untrue, and a lie.  I am also embarrassed on how quickly Mayor Humphreys defended Mr. Purcha’s prejudice comments regarding the Mexican shovel; and I quote Mayor Humphreys, “On a construction site this is appropriate, acceptable lingo.”

Mr. Mayor, racial slander, slurs or rude comments are not acceptable, nor should your ignorant opinion ever be the image we wish for Barriere. As the current mayor of Barriere and our elected official of the TNRD, I am disgusted in your poor example of leadership.  Mr. Mayor, your personal beliefs should not become an ugly face for Barriere.

In closing I would like to point out that it has now been over three weeks since the CAO of the district promised a meeting between myself, Mr. Purcha, Mayor Humphreys and the CAO – I am still waiting for that meeting to take place.

Paul Morris

Quality Contracting

Barriere, B.C.

 

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