06/27/2012 09:42 EDT | Updated 08/27/2012 05:12 EDT

Manitoba auditor knocks way RM handled construction of Destination Grand Marais

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's auditor general has criticized the RM of St. Clements for how it handled the construction of the $3.6-million Destination Grand Marais project.

Auditor General Carol Bellringer said in a report released Wednesday that the RM followed the Municipal Act in building the visitors' centre, public washroom and RV park.

But she says it did not prepare a proper feasibility study or tender for the construction manager's position of either the building or RV park.

Bellringer launched the review several months ago after complaints from a local resident's group.

She recommended that the province make feasibility studies of all larger projects mandatory for all local governments.

As well, as part of the RM's land assembly for the Grand Marais project, it also made a land swap deal to acquire the needed space, but Bellringer said that exposed a weakness that the RM did not have a disposition of assets policy.

She said such a policy should be mandatory for all RMs.

The RM of St. Clements and the province said both support adopting such a policy.

Bellinger also said construction managers should be tendered out to ensure the RM is getting the best bang for its buck.

The RM of St. Clements said as a small local government, it does not have the resources to tender out for construction managers and other professional services.

It said, in response to Bellinger's report, it wanted the flexibility in picking what professional services it required without going through a tendering process.

(Winnipeg Free Press)