Castle Rock alleges tender tomfoolery

A local company is crying foul over the city's decision to award its competitor around $867,000 to pave the Klondike Highway.

A local company is crying foul over the city’s decision to award its competitor around $867,000 to pave the Klondike Highway.

The company, Castle Rock Enterprises, bid around $32,800 less than the winner of the contract, Skookum Asphalt Ltd. City councillors and officials debated who should receive the contract at Monday’s council meeting.

Castle Rock lost the bid for failing to submit, as required, the resumes of the supervisor involved in the project, said acting city manager Brian Crist.

But Castle Rock did submit the resume, said project engineer Rick Savage. The problem was that it wasn’t in the format the city wanted, he said.

“They (the city) wanted a separate resume to be included as an attachment to the tender. That’s not what the documents say. That’s where they stand legally. It’s an interpretation of the documents,” Savage said.

Castle Rock alleges that city officials rigged the bidding process. In a news release, the company said the city required resumes as a way to “create a reason for rejection.”

The situation was a “well planned setup,” the release states.

City staff dispute this. “They’re making their allegation and that’s absolutely not true. The city doesn’t manipulate any process, we put out fair tenders and the tenders that we get back are either compliant or non-compliant. And in this case they were non-compliant,” said Crist.

Two councillors, Kirk Cameron and John Streicker, defended Castle Rock. The other four councillors and the mayor agreed that there were no nuances.

“It was very clear in there. I really think that this is a misfortunate situation with some miscommunication, but bottom-line is that the onus would have been on Castle Rock,” said Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu. If the company had questions, “they should be phoning and requesting information,” she added.

It’s the second time that Castle Rock has lost a bid in two weeks. But in the previous case, the winning company wasn’t penalized for not handing in resumes, said Savage.

In that case, Castle Rock competed with Adorna Flowers and Landscaping to construct landscapes for roundabouts in the new Whistle Bend subdivision.

The territorial government, not the city, decided that bid. Adorna was awarded a $189,370 tender. Castle Rock bid around $4,700 higher.

Losing the asphalt project jeopardizes the company’s ability to provide cheaper services in the future, said Savage.

“Between the two jobs, we’re losing out on a million dollars worth of work, it’s fairly significant,” said Savage.

The process “doesn’t sound fair,” said Coun. Kirk Cameron. “The information (about submitting resumes), I do not believe was provided to all the bidders,” he added.

During the tender process for the Klondike Highway paving job, Skookum Asphalt asked for clarification on whether or not they should be handing in resumes, said Cameron.

Skookum did ask some questions during the process, but would not comment on what specifically they asked, division manager Chris Simons told the News.

That any of the two companies needed clarification at all raises concerns, said Cameron.

Castle Rock isn’t yet sure whether it would proceed with litigation, Savage said.

The company currently employs around 70 workers. Asked if any of them would be laid off, he said “we’re unsure of the impact right now.”

Simons said that Skookum employs between 30 to 40 employees during the summer season. The company was acquired by B.C.‘s Terus Construction Ltd. in 1998.

Contact Krystle Alarcon at

krystlea@yukon-news.com

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