‘Mr. Red Hill’: Former city engineering boss at centre of parkway controversy faces questioning at inquiry

For yrs, Gary Moore was the person with all the solutions to any issue about the controversial Pink Hill Valley Parkway that is now less than the microscope of a judicial inquiry.

Moore was supervisor of style and design on the curvy, valley-climbing road that opened in 2007 after years of environmental protest and delay. In afterwards yrs, as the city’s major engineer, he co-authored educational papers on the novel “perpetual pavement” construction of the parkway and shared in similar sector awards.

If metropolis site visitors staffers preferred to make a modify to the Crimson Hill, they ran it by Moore very first. If councillors experienced parkway questions, they asked the shoot-from-the-lip engineering boss in some cases jokingly referred to as “Mr. Pink Hill.”

Moore in some cases appeared exasperated by these concerns, as soon as sarcastically telling The Spectator area politicians considered he had the terms Crimson Hill “tattooed on my a–.”

Moore retired in 2018 — but he now faces a slew of new queries as 1 of the central figures in an $18-million judicial inquiry into the safety of a collision-vulnerable parkway extensive rumoured to be inexplicably slippery.

Moore appeared in general public hearings past week to discuss about early parkway design and will be identified as to testify all over again this summer time.

A judicial inquiry headed by a Superior Court judge is underway to try and untangle the mystery of Hamilton's Red Hill Valley Parkway.

This is the very first time the general public is listening to from Moore on the Pink Hill controversy. He declined The Spectator’s job interview ask for for this tale as a result of a regulation organization symbolizing the City of Hamilton, noting he will not make general public statements while inquiry hearings carry on.

But previously private e-mails, collected for the judicial probe and revealed on the inquiry web-site, appear to portray a proud parkway guardian who fiercely defended the Red Hill — and at periods, resisted advised basic safety enhancements about many many years that he considered unwanted.

The choose-led probe now underway was requested by metropolis council in 2019 following a new engineering manager — Moore’s replacement — stumbled across troubling Pink Hill friction check success that had been stored from community check out for a long time.

Over the 5 years the report was buried, the parkway saw much more than 200 crashes with injuries and 4 fatalities.

That Tradewind Scientific report observed notably decreased friction on the Pink Hill in contrast to the more mature Lincoln Alexander Parkway and suggested a lot more examine and achievable “remedial motion.” But that didn’t come about till the report resurfaced in 2019, triggering a velocity limit slash and fast-tracked repaving.

The city has explained to the inquiry it are not able to come across any proof to demonstrate Moore shared the Tradewind report — or followup suggestions to improve friction from specialist Golder Associates — with any other metropolis employees at the time.

Pinpointing who understood what and when about that report, as properly as whether its suppression represented a public protection hazard, is one of the significant work facing inquiry commissioner Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel. He is also searching more broadly at parkway development, safety and the purpose of the province, which did independent street testing.

Moore will deal with concerns about that missing Tradewind report later on this summer months — as perfectly as about conflicting general public statements suggesting past friction testing confirmed no problems, but also that a official friction report did not exist.

For illustration, at the close of 2015 — the same year 19-12 months-old finest good friends Olivia Smosarski and Jordyn Hastings died in a crossover crash on the Purple Hill — Moore was asked in a city council assembly about rumours shoddy asphalt was to blame for perceived slippery ailments.

Moore replied unspecified tests “found (the asphalt) was holding up exceptionally well” and that “we have no worries about the effectiveness of the area blend.” He did not mention problems outlined in the Tradewind report.

Two yrs later, a Spectator investigation discovered collisions ended up taking place two times as regularly on the Pink Hill in comparison to the Linc.

A memorial in the centre median of the Red Hill Valley Parkway for Olivia Smosarski and Jordyn Hastings. The 19-year-olds were killed in a crash on the roadway in 2015.

For that story, Moore acknowledged friction tests had been performed on the roadway, but argued the final results have been inconclusive. He claimed no formal report existed, just a chart in an e mail.

Moore has never answered Spectator issues or agreed to interview requests about that report. He declined an interview ask for for this tale by a law company representing the Metropolis of Hamilton, indicating he will not make any public statements whilst inquiry hearings keep on.

But for the very first time, Moore’s early view on the controversy can be glimpsed in email messages collected by the inquiry and posted on line as aspect of a 1,200-plus-page summary. The email messages paint a picture of a blunt Red Hill defender whom other metropolis staffers appeared leery of crossing when it came to the parkway.

The accuracy and context of specifics involved in the e-mail and summary document can continue to be challenged by inquiry participants and witnesses. Wilton-Siegel will publish a last “findings of fact” and suggestions at the stop of the inquiry, which is nonetheless months away.

Email messages gathered by the inquiry enable describe why Moore didn’t return Spectator cellular phone phone calls right after February 2019: senior town personnel told him not to converse to the media.

But a draft email located in Moore’s account implies he felt the Tradewind Scientific report conclusions did not represent a community protection concern.

“The Tradewinds report only recommends that extra research be deemed … It was my evaluation at the time that extra precautionary steps from an Engineering stand place ended up not required,” Moore wrote in an obvious prepared email to senior town staff following the town went public with the contentious report and an apology.

Moore’s draft email complains he did not get a “heads up” about the explosive council conference or a possibility to explain his actions to councillors immediately. The town has explained to the inquiry it simply cannot demonstrate the draft e mail was ever despatched.

Gathered emails spanning several years exhibit Moore defended the structure and construction of the parkway to colleagues and citizens — and that other city staffers anxious about how he would respond to proposed basic safety variations.

In 2013, site visitors team exchanged nervous e-mails about the prospect of obtaining to “arm wrestle” the engineering boss in excess of recommendations contained in an early protection overview of the parkway from engineering business CIMA.

That same year, a town highway functions supervisor circulated an email reporting problems from police about the parkway becoming “very slippery” in rainy circumstances. An additional supervisor chimed in to propose the addition of “slippery when wet” signs.

Moore defended the parkway asphalt in a reply e-mail, arguing it was created to give “long term” skid resistance. “There is no pavement that delivers grip when the road is protected with h2o and the speeds are too much (hydroplaning),” he wrote. “These are significant general performance pavements that have been analyzed when they had been set down.”

Even now, e-mails show Moore questioned Golder Associates to search into friction testing on the parkway as portion of a more substantial analysis of the street six years soon after development. That ask for finally resulted in the Tradewind Scientific report.

That friction report was delivered to Moore in 2014 — alongside with companion suggestions from Golder to do “microsurfacing” on parts of the parkway to deal with the clear minimal friction.

Throughout a followup CIMA basic safety report in 2015, draft suggestions have been circulated suggesting the probable addition of new lighting, “slippery when wet” symptoms and friction screening on the Red Hill.

Inside e-mail exhibit Moore criticized these proposals:

  • “The indicator need to say drive according to highway disorders. The road is not slipperier when soaked any much more than any other highway,” he wrote in a single electronic mail.
  • On a lot more lighting: “There is no sense at seeking at … a thing that can’t and will never be regarded.”
  • On the proposed friction testing: “There is no basis, almost nothing to look at to and no other agency in Ontario such as the MTO accomplishing this! It usually means certainly almost nothing, besides proving potential publicity to authorized actions and confusion!”

All those emailed remarks did not reference the existence of the Tradewind check effects from 2013.

Moore’s obvious opposition to Pink Hill alterations appeared to be concerned some town staffers, according to e-mails contained in areas of the summary doc that have nonetheless to be examined in public hearings.

In just one e-mail to visitors staffers about a prepared report on the parkway, an operations supervisor notes it will advise “the guiderail and lighting overview and asphalt testing. All the factors Gary argues towards. Even with that I consider them to be prudent and necessary that we do this ethically and technically responsibly …

“We can avoid some of these accidents from developing and we need to acquire motion.”

The inquiry summary implies Moore’s romantic relationship with equally town staff and paid consultants will be a concept. It has by now occur up in community listening to testimony.

For instance, previous town supervisor Chris Murray was asked by inquiry lawyers why he referred to Moore’s “spirited” nature in an evaluation of the engineering manager in 2017. “Gary is extremely direct … he’s a challenger,” replied Murray, who added even though he appreciated the former engineer’s honesty, his blunt approach “can develop some problems, just in conditions of relationships.”

But Murray also emphasised he experienced hardly ever witnessed Moore bullying other staffers to get his way.

For the duration of his very first visual appeal at the inquiry, Moore was questioned by an inquiry attorney about a free vacation supplied to the engineer and his spouse in 2009 to attend a ceremony recognizing the Pink Hill undertaking.

The journey was paid out for by parkway building advisor Golder, and the flights and hotel stays were being worthy of $880.

An inquiry attorney asked Moore if he had regarded as the city’s conflict of interest coverage when he recognized the vacation, or whether or not he viewed as it a gift or advantage.

Moore replied he regarded the excursion a “work thing” that included him symbolizing the metropolis, not a reward.