City Commits to ongoing improvements following Judicial Inquiry
HAMILTON, ON – The City of Hamilton is reviewing the Red Hill Valley Parkway Judicial Inquiry recommendations as part of its ongoing commitment to public safety and trust.
A previous City Council requested the Red Hill Valley Parkway Judicial Inquiry on April 24, 2019 following the discovery of a 2013 consultant's report detailing the results of asphalt friction testing that was not shared with the City's Senior Leadership Team or City Council until late 2018 and early 2019, respectively.
Led by Commissioner Herman J. Wilton-Siegel, the Judicial Inquiry involved 89 days of hearings, more than 131,941 documents and 107 witnesses.
Since the report was discovered, the City has taken various actions to investigate and improve transparency and coordination between City departments. The Red Hill Valley Parkway was also repaved in May and July 2019.
At that time, speed limits were reduced to 80km/hr on both sides of the Parkway between Dartnall Road and Greenhill Avenue to 80km/hr.
The City also created a temporary Chief Road Official position to improve operating procedures related to planning, design, construction, and maintenance operations for City roadways, including the Red Hill and a Parkway Management Committee to ensure better information sharing and workplan alignment among City divisions.
A Quality Management System was also implemented in the Public Works Department to ensure staff meet and exceed regulatory standards.
The City also took a number of steps to improve its document management systems and policies regarding information sharing and transparency, including:
- The development and ongoing implementation of a Records and Information Management Policy.
- The development and ongoing implementation of an Active Disclosure and Dissemination Policy, which makes it clear how and when information such as consultant reports are to be made available to the public.
- Development and implementation of a Council Staff Relationship policy.
- Creation of materials and training policy to improve project management activities, including regular reporting.
- An improved tracking system for external consultant reports.
Over the coming days, City staff will review the Red Hill Valley Parkway Judicial Inquiry’s findings and recommendations in detail and bring a report to the December 6, 2023 General Issues Committee where members of City Council will be provided an overview on how the City will respond and next steps in the process.
The City will keep the community up to date on its response to the Red Hill Valley Parkway Judicial Inquiry with a dedicated webpage at Hamilton.ca/rhvp, which includes information about the Judicial Inquiry, answers to frequently asked questions, as well as a tracking system where residents can stay up to date on actions the City has taken.
The Red Hill Valley Parkway Judicial Inquiry Report is available at www.rhvpi.ca.
Background Information related to Red Hill Valley Parkway
- The City of Hamilton called the Red Hill Valley Parkway Judicial Inquiry in April 2019 to investigate matters related to a 2013 friction report from Tradewind Scientific Inc., an outside consultant (the “Tradewind Report”).
- The Tradewind Report included results from friction testing completed on the Red Hill Valley Parkway and concluded that friction levels fell below the "investigatory" standard used in the United Kingdom.
- A former City of Hamilton employee received the Tradewind Report in 2014 but did not share the Report with the Senior Leadership Team, Council or other consultants contracted to do assessments or investigations of the Red Hill Valley Parkway.
- In late 2018, the City staff discovered the Tradewind Report, which was subsequently shared with Council in early 2019.
- On April 24, 2019, the City passed a resolution under s. 274 of the Municipal Act, 2001, requesting the Chief Justice of Ontario appoint a Superior Court judge to investigate matters related to the disclosure of the Tradewind Report.
- The Honourable Mr. Justice Herman J. Wilton-Siegel was appointed as Commissioner in May 2019.
- The public hearings for the Red Hill Valley Parkway Judicial Inquiry began on April 25, 2022, and concluded in March 2023.
- The hearing stage of the Red Hill Valley Parkway Judicial Inquiry was live-streamed on YouTube, and all evidence received by the Commissioner, including recordings and transcripts of witness testimony, documentary evidence, and closing submissions, are available on the Red Hill Valley Parkway Judicial Inquiry website.
- The initial budget for the Red Hill Valley Parkway Judicial Inquiry, forecasted in 2019 to be between $5 million and then $7 million, was revised to $20 million in December 2021.
- A further increase of the budget of up to $26 million was approved by Council on August 8, 2022, based on an updated estimate of Commission Counsel's legal fees from July 1, 2022, to the end of the Red Hill Valley Parkway Judicial Inquiry.
I’d like to thank the Inquiry Commission for its hard work and important recommendations. Although this incident occurred long before the current Council’s term, I apologize for this serious breach of public trust and am absolutely committed to preventing anything like this from happening again. I would like to personally express my remorse to the families who have been impacted by tragic accidents on the Red Hill Valley Parkway. I know that lives have been lost and that the release of this report today will be difficult for many. My heart is with them.Mayor Andrea Horwath
The City did not wait for the conclusion of the Judicial Inquiry to act. We are thankful for this report and will carefully review the recommendations to ensure appropriate steps are taken to ensure public safety and improve internal systems and information sharing.Grace Mater, Acting City Manager