Courts slated to hear Whistle Bend contract dispute

Norcope Enterprises is getting its day in court. The contractor and the Yukon government have been embroiled in a contract dispute since June.

Norcope Enterprises is getting its day in court.

The contractor and the Yukon government have been embroiled in a contract dispute since June.

At issue is $2.1 million worth of work on the Whistle Bend subdivision.

The territorial government hired Whitehorse-based Sidhu Trucking to do that work.

However, Norcope, which had a $15.9 million contract to install water and sewer infrastructure in the Whistle Bend subdivision, claims that work should have been awarded to it under the terms of its contract.

Last summer, Norcope parked several rock trucks and other heavy equipment around the Yukon legislature to protest the government’s actions.

The territorial government has always maintained that it was under no obligation to give that work to Norcope because it was “new work” and not part of Norcope’s contract.

The court will decide exactly what the contract says in March.

At a hearing Monday, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale granted Norcope’s request for a summary trial.

The court proceeding will focus only on the issue of the contract’s scope.

The Vancouver-based lawyer representing the Yukon government, Sarah Hansen, argued in vain that the case was too complex to reduce it to one narrow issue of contract law.

But Veale said the summary trial was judicially expedient and, ultimately, would save both parties money.

A full trial could last two to there months, he said.

“I don’t know why you would want to go to the next level given the amount of money involved,” said Veale.

If the court rules the work was not within the scope of the contract, Norcope’s case would likely go away, he said.

Both the government and Norcope are seeking damages from one another.

In Norcope’s statement of claim, it contends it should be awarded costs for the equipment it bought to do the work and for damage to its business reputation.

The government claims it is entitled to damages for delays caused by Norcope and for interfering with its relations with Sidhu Trucking.

The summary trial is scheduled for March 5. 

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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