A sole-source contract worth more than $11 million has been awarded to Whitehorse’s Alkan Air for medevac flights.
“We’ve only got two companies on the Yukon source list that are capable of providing that type of service — Alkan Air and Air North,” said Health and Social Services minister Brad Cathers, in an interview Thursday.
Cathers authorized and signed the three-year, sole sourced Alkan contract, worth $11,143,000.
Several months before the end of Alkan’s current medevac deal, officials contacted both Alkan and Air North to ask if they intended to bid on the next contract, Cathers said.
“Air North indicated they didn’t intend to submit a bid,” he said.
“Having only one company on the government contract source list that was able to provide that service — obviously going out to a public tender wouldn’t have accomplished anything except spending more money and time.”
The contract’s value is based on a predicted volume of medevac flights, which have been increasing over the past six years, Cathers said.
It also reflects rising fuel costs, he added.
The previous three-year medevac contract was worth $8.45 million.
It was put up for public tender and awarded to Alkan.
If Alkan’s expenses exceed $11,143,000 for medevac flights between now and April 2009, they will have to negotiate a new contract, Cathers added.
“That is an upper limit on the contract. They can’t spend more than that,” he said.
Alkan has held the Yukon’s medevac contract for more than 20 years, Cathers said.
The company, opened in 1977, uses a King Air 300 turbo-prop aircraft for medevac flights, backed up by a King Air 200, said Barry Watson, president and co-owner of Alkan.
Counterfeit money in Whitehorse
There are photocopied $5 bills floating around the city.
Last week, Whitehorse RCMP received two fake Wilfred Lauriers from a local business.
“The suspect bills are a darker blue, their images lacks definition and sharpness and are approximately 1/8” (three millimetres) smaller than authentic Canadian Bills,” states a police release.
“Also the paper of the suspect bills is very smooth and feels thinner than an authentic bill.”
Both bills have the same serial number of HNV5885921.
Police advise people to watch out for counterfeits of all denominations and double check the security features such as the holographic stripe, iridescent maple leaves and watermark portraits.
“I think if you were just grabbing money and putting it in a till you wouldn’t notice, but certainly if you look at the bills their not a good quality counterfeit,” Whitehorse RCMP Cpl. Lianne Lind said on Friday.
“It’s quite possible that we will have more come in because not many people print two, but it’s hard to say when and how many at this point,” she said.
There were 25 counterfeit bills seized in the Yukon in 2005, according to Michael Duncan, senior representative for the Bank of Canada’s BC and Yukon region.
There were more than 400,000 counterfeit bills seized in Canada last year, worth a value of nearly $10 million, he said.
$5 bills only made up only three per cent of these counterfeits.
There has been a 27-per-cent decrease in counterfeits since 2004.
“If we were to speculate, the rates are probably coming down because of the issuing of the new Canadian Journey Series notes,” said Duncan from Ottawa.
The Bank of Canada does not offer reimbursement for counterfeit notes.
Police encourage anyone with information on this crime or those who suspect a bill to be counterfeit to contact the RCMP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
For more information on Canadian bank notes security features and recognizing counterfeit bills, see the Bank of Canada website at www.bankofcanada.ca. (RJM)