City council was closed to the public due to COVID-19 on March 23. Some Whitehorse city council members are expressing concerns over the potential award of the contract for the design of the proposed new city services building during a council meeting on April 6. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Councillors question contract for new city services building design

Only one bid of four deemed compliant

Some Whitehorse city council members are expressing concerns over the potential awarding of the contract for the design of the proposed new city services building.

The award would go to Kobayashi and Zedda Architects, which has been involved with a number of earlier related contracts, going back to 2015.

“The case is being made that the contractor had a distinct advantage,” Coun. Dan Boyd said during the April 6 council meeting where the contract was discussed, bringing forward concerns he says he’s heard from the industry.

Wayne Tuck, the city’s special projects engineer, brought forward the recommendation Kobayashi and Zedda Architects be awarded the $1.46-million contract.

The services building is being planned to be built next to a retrofitted City Hall in the coming years, after the new downtown fire hall opens and the current fire hall next to City Hall is closed.

KZA, he told council, submitted the only compliant bid of four that came in.

As Tuck told council, two proposals were found not to meet the technical criteria needed to open the separate envelopes detailing price and local preference.

The first part of the evaluation looks at project team, past relevant experience, methodology and schedule. If they do not score 80 per cent in that evaluation, the proposals are not considered further.

It was found after opening one of the bids that passed the technical requirements that the prices did not match the work required. Tuck noted through looking at the price information it was learned items were missing and there were other issues in the first part of the review, which would have impacted the technical results as well.

Tuck said legal advice was sought on the matter where it was confirmed the bid should be rejected.

As Boyd and some other councillors told Tuck though, there’s concern being expressed by the contracting community that KZA had an advantage on this contract, given it had a 2015 contract that looked at the earlier building consolidation plan the services building is coming out of as well as a contract in 2019 for a conceptual design of a services building.

Coun. Laura Cabott questioned whether there is any industry standard that would prevent a firm from putting forward a proposal for a contract it had worked on previously under another contract.

She argued it would seem to put competitors at a disadvantage.

Tuck maintained there was no such rule in place and noted the conceptual design was a separate endeavour essentially looking at the basics of what the services building could look like.

“Everyone was given a clear chance,” Tuck said.

Boyd, however, indicated he’d like to look at potential options for council in considering the contract — possibly putting it to a fairness monitor — before council votes on the matter.

Meanwhile, others such as Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu said while she understands the concerns of councillors who spoke up, it appears all the policies were followed in determining KZA as the successful bidder. She argued this may be something to consider though as the city moves forward in looking at drafting a new procurement policy.

Coun. Jan Stick also noted the processes followed to get to the recommendation including getting a legal opinion on the matter.

While much of the discussion focused on the contract award, Coun. Steve Roddick voiced his concern the building be constructed as efficiently as possible with Tuck noting that will be looked at during the design.

Council is scheduled to vote on the contract April 14.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Whitehorse city council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Patti Balsillie will be running for the mayor’s seat in Whitehorse in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Submitted)
Balsillie aims to serve as city’s mayor

Says she has the time, skill set to serve in full-time role

Mayo-Tatchun MLA Don Hutton sits on the opposition side of the legislative assembly on March 8 after announcing his resignation from the Liberal party earlier that day. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Don Hutton resigns from Liberal caucus; endorses NDP leadership

Hutton said his concerns about alcohol abuse and addictions have gone unaddressed

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read