From courtyard to court of law

On June 8, the construction company parked equipment on the lawn of the legislature to protest the government's decision to award around $2 million of work on the Whistle Bend subdivision to another company.

Norcope Enterprises is taking its fight with the Yukon government off the street and into court.

On June 8, the construction company parked equipment on the lawn of the legislature to protest the government’s decision to award around $2 million of work on the Whistle Bend subdivision to another company.

Sidhu Trucking was given the work as a change order to their existing contract.

Norcope officials assert it should have been awarded to them, or, at the very least, tendered.

Friday they will present their case in Yukon Supreme Court.

The Yukon government failed to negotiate in good faith and violated the terms of the existing contract by awarding the extra work to another company, said Norcope in court documents it filed late last week.

Community Services will not comment on the case as it is before the courts.

However when the protest started, departmental officials said work awarded under Sidhu’s contract was not in Norcope’s scope of work.

All disputed work on the site should be stopped until the matter is resolved, said Norcope’s court documents.

They want the work given to them, along with a court order compelling the government to negotiate a fair price.

Norcope also wants damages awarded.

In March, Norcope was tasked with installing $15.9 million in water, sewer and utility lines in the new subdivision.

In April, drainage problems onsite forced the plans to be revised by government.

That required hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of additional soil and gravel to be moved to raise road and lot levels up to three metres higher than originally planned.

Norcope assumed that the work was within its contract.

To meet deadlines, the company leased and bought additional equipment, which is now sitting idle on the lawn of the legislature.

Negotiations to do the work broke down, and it was handed to Sidhu, according to Norcope’s court documents.

This was a breach of contract, said Norcope.

Justice officials hired Vancouver-based law firm Miller Thompson to represent the government.

“We will comment a lot on it before the court,” said Tom Ullyett, a deputy minister in Justice. “Now that this contract dispute has been brought to court by Norcope, the government has to make its submissions at court.”

On Friday, Norcope president Doug Gonder is scheduled to take the stand. He’s supposed to be cross-examined by government lawyers about the affidavit he submitted.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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