Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services for a new reception building at Robert Service Campground.
At Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 26 meeting, council members voted to provide the full 20 points available for local content in the evaluation for the design and construction services contract for the building.
Council can set the rating for local content — up to 20 points — on certain projects before a request for proposal is released. Local refers to those with a municipal business licence or a Yukon inter-municipal business licence.
In this case, administration had recommended council approve the full 20 points be available in the evaluation to local firms.
“It is believed that there are many companies in Whitehorse that would be qualified and interested in doing this work,” Peter O’Blenes, the city’s director of infrastructure and operations, stated in an earlier report to council. “This weighting, at the highest end of the one to 20 range, has been selected to reflect the desire to reward partnerships with local firms who have knowledge of our city and the intricacies of the current construction market.”
Ahead of voting in favour of the weighting, Coun. Samson Hartland pointed out this marks the first time the full 20 points has been set for a contract since council adopted the local content weighting criteria in the spring.
Noting his hope this will be good for the local contracting community, he said he’s looking forward to seeing how it works out when the contract is awarded.
Meanwhile, Coun. Dan Boyd also voiced his support for the full 20 points, but wondered if changes should be made to the process to determine the weighting.
He noted that it takes time and resources for staff to prepare the report and recommendation that comes to council.
Boyd suggested his fellow council members give some thought to the possibility that in cases where a full 20 points would be recommended to be available for an evaluation that administration be able to simply go ahead and add in the weighting without it coming forward for a vote by council.
Both Coun. Laura Cabott and Mayor Dan Curtis, however, said they would rather have the content amounts come to council for a vote, even at the full 20 points.
Cabott said she was somewhat surprised by Boyd’s suggestion and also noted she appreciated the analysis and recommendation brought forward by staff.
Curtis said he has no issue with the recommendation coming to council, noting it is also an opportunity for the city to share how local content is being weighted into evaluations. He pointed out the city has heard a lot from local chambers of commerce organizations on the importance of supporting the local economy.
With the local content weighting now set for the evaluation, city staff can move forward with the request for proposals on the project, expected to be released in early November.
Once the contract is awarded, design work would be done in 2021 with construction anticipated for 2022.
The building is envisioned to be the main reception building for the campground as well as a year-round hub that can be used for recreation, community gatherings or as space that can be rented by community organizations.
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