Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters at a news conference in Whitehorse on Dec. 21, 2017. New ATIPP laws are coming into effect April 1. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News file)

Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters at a news conference in Whitehorse on Dec. 21, 2017. New ATIPP laws are coming into effect April 1. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News file)

Liberals refute opposition accusation that wellness centre tender was rushed

Ministers grilled on the award of the wellness centre construction contract

As the spring sitting wrapped up Liberal ministers rejected insinuations from the official opposition that a $45-million tender was rushed through the process so it could be finalized before the election was called.

On May 27 MLA Scott Kent questioned the timing of the approval for the construction of the new Old Crow health and wellness centre and attached 10-unit housing plex.

The call for bids on the project closed on Feb. 18. Three weeks later it was awarded to Ketza TSL Construction.

“When it comes to the tendering of this particular project, as I mentioned in my previous question, it was a very quick turnaround,” Kent said. “We have seen other projects that closed on that same date take three months to award. This one took three weeks. Of course, it is going to raise flags.”

Kent’s claims echoed concerns voiced by Wildstone Construction Group, who submitted a lower bid at $38.2 million but lost out on the contract to Ketza. Wildstone felt the process was rushed due to the impending election, which was called on March 12, one day after the contract was awarded.

Responding to Kent in the legislature, former Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn told the house he was “shocked” by the suggestion.

“I can say unequivocally for the members opposite that there was absolutely no political interference on that contract, so we can put that insinuation — that malicious insinuation — to bed right now,” said Mostyn.

“I’m kind of shocked at the tactics of the Yukon Party, but I guess I shouldn’t be. I can say that the Department of Highways and Public Works in their procurement efforts are absolutely running phenomenally well. That’s why we were able to get these programs out in a competitive system,” he said.

Current Minister of Highways and Public Works Nils Clarke said that sticker price is not the only consideration when awarding a contract.

“I can provide the member opposite the high-level answer that I received from the department, which is that it was indeed a competitive process. It was a value-driven contract and there was a formal evaluation of the tenders, using a fairness monitor,” he said.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

Yukon legislative assembly

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