Pharmacy Avenue Resurfacing: What went wrong? A message from Michael.

As you know, there have been some extensive disruptions to Pharmacy Avenue as the City completes a major road resurfacing and curb replacement project from Ellesmere Road to the CPR bridge.

The contractor started construction on July 21, 2016, and construction was scheduled to take place over 14 weeks with an original completion date of October 31, 2016. As you know, this completion date was pushed to November 30, 2016 due to an error. This is unacceptable and as taxpayers and residents, you deserve answers. I have demanded these answers from the engineers in charge of the project and have spearheaded an investigation into the events, errors or oversight that led to this problem.

The Problem:

During the design phase (before the contract was tendered), some locations along Pharmacy Avenue were observed to have curb that was higher than the existing sidewalk. This was impeding drainage of stormwater along the boulevard, which, in turn, raised safety concerns.

To remedy this, the design of the grades for the proposed curb and gutter along Pharmacy Avenue was adjusted to improve the drainage along the boulevard.

However, once the curbs with the adjusted design grades were constructed, the newly installed gutters were found to be 50mm to 150mm lower than the existing asphalt roadway.

The Solution:

To address the issue encountered with the installation of the new curb and gutter, work on Pharmacy Avenue was temporarily suspended and a geotechnical consultant was engaged to propose possible mitigation measures. The consultant proposed several options before the City determined that removing and replacing the newly installed curb and gutter to a new profile was the most preferred option with the least impact on residents. However, this will result in an additional cost to the project of approximately $250,000. Who is responsible for bearing this cost will be determined through the course of the investigation.

At this time, the City is continuing its investigation into the omissions and/or errors that led to the need for replacement of the newly installed curb on Pharmacy Avenue. It was stressed to me that an error of this nature is a very rare occurrence. However, you deserve better. Once the investigation is complete, I will ensure that the necessary steps are taken and procedures implemented to prevent future occurrences of this nature.

I have already asked that preliminary changes be made to this project to improve this project and Engineering and Construction services has committed to the following:

  • Improving the lines of communication between field staff and management staff;
  • Establishing additional pre-planning investigation and criteria to ensure that the appropriate work activity is selected for the project‎;
  • Developing additional protocols for our project management staff to ensure that they provide ‎the necessary oversight on certain project activities at the various critical stages of the project.

Should you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact either my office at (416) 397-9274 or Dan Christensen, the engineer in charge of the project, at (416) 396-7175 or


Michael Thompson
Scarborough Centre, Ward 37
Chair, Economic Development and
Culture Committee

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