Carmacks Stewart line on hold

David Morrison hopes to see the first pole of the Carmacks-Stewart transmission line in the ground by late October. But it may not happen.

David Morrison hopes to see the first pole of the Carmacks-Stewart transmission line in the ground by late October.

But it may not happen.

“Everything takes longer than I think it should,” said the Yukon Energy Corp. president and transmission line project manager on Monday.

“And maybe that’s not a bad thing, because it means everyone is being careful.”

The transmission line is still undergoing the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act process.

“We are hoping to see a draft screening report by late August, early September,” said Morrison.

Following the report, there will be a 30-day comment period, where concerns and issues could be raised.

“Then the final screening report will go to the decision bodies,” said Morrison.

If everything falls into place, the board should make a decision on whether to go ahead with the project by late September, he said.

Yukon Energy will not be making the same mistakes it did with the Mayo-Dawson line, added Morrison.

In February 2005, the auditor general released a scathing report outlining problems with the construction of the Mayo-Dawson line.

The report called the project “poorly managed,” stated it was crippled by long delays, was more than $7 million over budget and had awarded a number of contracts without proper competition or explanation.

If the Carmacks-Stewart line goes ahead, there will be requests for proposals for project management, as well as line and substation construction contracts, said Morrison.

But not all the work will go to public tender.

Yukon Energy has already been in talks with the Northern Tutchone First Nations’ over the ground-clearing contract.

“So that may or may not go to tender,” said Morrison.

“We are still dealing with First Nations project agreements and access agreements.”

Parts of the line would run across First Nations settlement lands.

“We have memorandums of understanding with the three First Nations whose land we’ll cross,” said Morrison.

“We have enlisted their support and chosen the route in conjunction with them.”

Although it hasn’t put out a request for proposals yet, Yukon Energy did post an expression of interest for the line construction, he said.

Morrison was worried there might not be any takers, with the construction boom in the South.

But four companies responded.

“We wanted to see who might be out there,” said Morrison.

Yukon Energy does its own tendering with the help of its Winnipeg-based consultant, Intergroup, and its Vancouver lawyers Davis and Co.

The Carmacks-Stewart project was estimated at $20 million.

But no firm numbers will be available until contracts have been awarded, said Morrison.

Yukon Energy hopes to have power to the Sherwood Copper mine by October 2008.