Vancouver-based Dominion Construction and Kwanlin Dun First Nation have been awarded a contract to manage the construction of Whitehorse’s new jail.
The Yukon Healing Centre, will replace the aging correctional centre on the same site. The cost of managing construction of the facility is pegged at $2.69 million.
The design phase of the project is underway and the partners hope to begin work at the site this fall. The actual cost of the facility itself has not been determined yet.
Dominion, one of Canada’s largest construction firms, will team up with the First Nation to provide services for the design and construction of the new facility.
The First Nation officially expressed interest in some form of joint venture in April.
“We were having discussions with the First Nation to do a sort of similar arrangement with them,” said Peter Densmore of Ketza Construction.
“But they chose Dominion for whatever reasons ….”
Ketza also bid on the correctional centre contract. And it bid lower.
But other factors, such as the joint venture with the First Nation, led to Dominion being chosen, said Densmore.
Ketza and Dominion both bid on the athletes’ village contract for the Canada Games.
The two-building complex on the Yukon College campus was originally estimated to cost $31.4 million.
It ended up costing $34 million.
For the new jail, Dominion will share its construction-management expertise, while Kwanlin Dun will provide local and cultural knowledge.
The partnership will also enable First Nation members to gain experience in construction planning.
The Yukon Party government is hopeful that the contract will provide opportunities to accelerate the project’s schedule.
The management plan will subcontract smaller projects, which Yukon businesses will be given an opportunity to bid on.
Incentives will provide rebates for using Yukon labour, apprentices, materials and locally manufactured products.
Work on the correctional centre is just the first project that will take place in the Dominion-Kwanlin Dun joint venture.
“We’re trying to expand but the main focus right now is the healing centre,” said Kwanlin Dun councillor Ray Webb.
“We’re trying to get it away from being called a jail,” he added, explaining the change of name.
Ketza Construction doesn’t plan to bid on any of the subcontracts for the new jail, said Densmore.
“Partly because it’s not a role that we normally play in the business,” he said.
“We’re general contractors not subcontractors so it’s not something that we would normally do.”