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

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has announced 30 new COVID-19 cases on June 21 for a total of 100 active cases. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon experiencing community spread among unvaccinated: Hanley

Territory logs 30 new cases on June 21, for a total of 68 new cases this weekend

Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)
The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame inducts the late Lorraine Kuhn

Lorraine Kuhn became the newest member of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame for her work in growing volleyball amongst other sports

File Photo
A Yukon judge approved dangerous offender status for a man guilty of a string of assaults in 2020.
Yukon judge sentences dangerous offender to indefinite prison term

Herman Peter Thorn, 51, was given the sentence for 2020 assaults, history of violence

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read