A Department of Transportation and Works spokesperson told VOCM on Thursday, November 5, 2015
that “the walls within Waterford Valley High that need further supports are
walls between classrooms,
and says there are no issues on the walls that
provide the main structural integrity of the building.” (underline added)

Spokesperson was commenting on Uncle Gnarley Blog’s exposure of a cover up of
structural deficiencies in a second St. John’s school; this time the new
Waterford Valley High.

But a highly experienced engineer, who advised me on this file, says the Department of Transportation and Works is downplaying an important structural issue. 

He says that if the walls between the classrooms “need further supports”, as the Government has now acknowledged ,and evening work activities at the school confirm, without those supports the walls can collapse.

English School District (NLESD), in its communication with parents, also echoed the position of the Transportation and Works Department (TW). NLESD says: “Inspections of our school identified some walls requiring lateral supports; these are partition walls between classrooms. There are no issues with walls that provide the main structural integrity of the school.” (Underline added)

Both TW and NLESD give the impression the missing structural members are unimportant. They seem to have, already, forgotten the Roncalli wall collapse. The walls at Waterford Valley High are also constructed of concrete block.

Related to this Post:
The engineer I consulted states: “There is no grey here; either the walls conform
to National Building Code standards or they don’t.” He says “the Code is very
precise; the structural members, including those missing lateral supports, are
required to accommodate all the loads which the design engineer has calculated
and on which he would have based the design specifications. So, someone has
made a decision to occupy a sub-standard structure.”

The Government’s own revelations have given focus to a second, and related, issue.

Transportation and Works Department told VOCM: “It was determined there was
no risk to staff and students, and that remedial work could be completed after

The spokesperson did not identify the Structural Engineer
or release a copy of that the documentation signed by that engineer confirming Waterford Valley High School is structurally ready for occupancy.

Today, I am
calling for the immediate release, to the public, of that Certificate.

Its release will help allay public concern over questions of public
safety which have been exposed by Uncle Gnarley Blog.
Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?


  1. I'm no engineer but to my knowledge those support are not there to help the block wall stand vertically, rebars and grouted core is used for that, those support are for large siesmic activity and will (help) maintain block wall in place if it happens, a lot of school/building build in the 1990 don't have any plus i'm not aware of any earthquake that happened in saint john in the last century.

    However i must agree that they should have consulted the parents at the school opening and provide them with information on the situation.

  2. I also don't understand why any inspection was done while the school contruction progressed, usually in construction projects the EOR come for field inspecion every week or two and issue reports with clearly marked deficiencies.