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What does a Delivery Partner do? SNC-Lavalin announces role in Calgary Green Line

The City of Calgary has a delivery partner for the $5.5 billion Green line, but what does that actually mean? 

On Thursday, SNC-Lavalin released the announcement of their selection as a delivery partner for Phase 1 of the city’s transportation megaproject. That announcement was initially made by the City of Calgary on Nov. 16, 2022.

Phase 1 of the Green Line goes from Shepard to Eau Claire.

SNC-Lavalin was named, along with four others – Aldea Services Inc, Altus Group, Mott MacDonald and Turner & Townsend – to make up the CSIX Partners as the project’s Phase 1 delivery partner.  

“The Green Line LRT is a historical project that will change the face of transit in Calgary. Not only will it connect entire communities and improve mobility for people, organizations, businesses and future investors, it will also unlock vital transit-oriented development, thus contributing to the city’s economic growth,” said Ben Almond, Chief Executive Officer, Engineering Services Canada at SNC-Lavalin, in a prepared release.

“Together with our partners, we bring strong, local teams with in-depth understanding of the project, proven skills and decades of knowledge. We look forward to delivering a safe and reliable infrastructure to the City of Calgary and its citizens.”

The SNC-Lavalin announcement follows the actual signing of an agreement, the holidays and time for the Green Line team and the five firms to meet, according to the city.

Already there has been criticism of SNC-Lavalin’s involvement in the Green Line project, given the company’s prior connection to a political scandal involving the Liberal government. Further, SNC Lavalin was awarded a contract to extend a portion of Ottawa’s Trillium Line that ran into serious technical concerns.

The role of a delivery partner

According to the Green Line team, the partnership group was selected as the delivery partner on the Green Line. That delivery partner includes SNC-Lavalin.

The delivery partner doesn’t lay the tracks along the ground, however.  The process to choose a Green Line development partner (construction) is still out at RFP. A selection announcement is expected later this spring.

Two partnership groups were approved in the RFQ for the project construction.

Members of the delivery partner will supplement the Green Line team to support the delivery of Phase 1, said Wendy Tynan, director of stakeholder relations and communications with the Green Line.  They will operate across a wide range of functions: commercial management, technical support, project controls and construction management.

“CSIX Partners brings extensive technical and commercial expertise in complex megaprojects with an ability to scale resources based on project needs and phasing,” Tynan wrote in an email.

“The Delivery Partner will be embedded within the Green Line project team to ensure we have the right people in the right roles at the right time on the project.”

There’s no expected overall financial benefit from having the delivery partners over the direct hiring of the technical expertise in-house. It does provide the flexibility to draw from the expertise of any of the partners when needed, Tynan said.

Construction of the Green Line is expected to start in 2024. Once a development partner is selected, it’s expected details will be finalized over 12 months before the project breaks ground.

There is a Green Line Board meeting on Friday, Jan. 27.