Another row over Whistle Bend

Norcope Enterprises is accusing the Yukon government of trying to sully its good name.

Norcope Enterprises is accusing the Yukon government of trying to sully its good name.

In June 2011 the construction company took the Yukon government to court after the territory awarded $2 million worth of work on the Whistle Bend subdivision to Sidhu Trucking.

Norcope contended the work should have been awarded to them, or at least put out to tender.

In protest, the company parked several pieces of heavy equipment in front of the Yukon legislature.

After things simmered down, the lawsuit was put on hold that summer while the contractor and the Yukon government attempted to negotiate a settlement.

The parties reached an agreement on at least one of the issues, but several were left outstanding.

Those talks broke down last month and Norcope filed a revised statement of claim last week.

In it, the company accuses the government of making “false” and “malicious” statements to its bonding company in an attempt to prevent Norcope from to bidding on contracts that required a bond.

The dispute began when, in the midst of construction, the government changed the plans for the subdivision, which required 267,000 cubic metres of dirt to be moved to raise up lot levels so the area would drain correctly.

Norcope claims the Yukon government refused to negotiate a price for that work in good faith. Instead, the territory awarded the work to Sidhu Trucking. Norcope asserts this is a breach of contract.

The government made several more changes to the design for the subdivision, which required Norcope to redo water mains, purchase more expensive manholes and storm drains, and double-handle gravel, among other things.

The government also stopped work on a section of road at the end of August 2011, an order which was contradicted by the project engineer in mid-October. As a result, Norcope said it was forced to leave expensive construction equipment sitting idle for more than a month.

Norcope claims that the government not only refused – in violation of the construction contract – to pay for the increased expenses the company was forced to incur as a result of those design changes, but that the government also refused to amend the construction schedule to allow Norcope time to finish the work.

“YTG’s actions constitute a flagrant disregard of Norcope’s rights under the construction contract,” reads the statement of claim.

It goes on to accuse the government of making false statements to AXA Pacific Insurance Company, Norcope’s bonding company, accusing the contractor of shoddy workmanship, breach of contract, failing to abide by the construction schedule and more.

These statements “were, to the knowledge of YTG, false,” Norcope’s claim states.

As a result of all this, Norcope claims it lost the ability to bid on certain construction contracts, including ones for surface work on the Whistle Bend subdivision.

The company is seeking damages for loss of reputation and goodwill.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

As of press-time, the Yukon government had yet to file a revised counterclaim.

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