City of Whitehorse’s Selkirk pump house on Selkirk Road in Riverdale on Jan. 26. Whitehorse city council decided Jan. 25 that there will be no advantage for local firms planning to submit proposals for the final report and design of a second barrier water treatment project for the Selkirk pump house. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

City of Whitehorse’s Selkirk pump house on Selkirk Road in Riverdale on Jan. 26. Whitehorse city council decided Jan. 25 that there will be no advantage for local firms planning to submit proposals for the final report and design of a second barrier water treatment project for the Selkirk pump house. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

No local content weighting on pump house contract

Work will see design for water treatment system

There will be no advantage for local firms planning to submit proposals for the final report and design of a second barrier water treatment project for the City of Whitehorse’s Selkirk pump house.

In a 5-1 vote at Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 25 meeting, members approved a recommendation that no additional weighting be given for local firms submitting proposals on the project.

Coun. Laura Cabott was the only member of council to vote against the recommendation, suggesting there should be at least some points — 10 at minimum — given to local firms.

“I’m advocating for some points to be awarded (for local content),” she said, arguing such a move would be consistent with the resolution council adopted in June that’s aimed at supporting local contractors wherever possible.

Under that resolution, council is able to set the weighting for local content in the evaluation on such contracts at up to 20 points. Council decides exactly how many points before a request for proposals on the work is released.

This project will see a second barrier for water treatment designed for the Selkirk pump house that may be needed in the future. The city is expecting to spend approximately $250,000 on the report and design.

As Arcadio Rodriguez, the senior tech for water and waste services, told council at an earlier meeting: “The city retained a consultant in 2018 to produce a preliminary (conceptual) study and this upcoming RFP will produce a final report (2021) and design specifications (preliminary in 2022 and detail in 2023) that are ready for construction.”

He proposed that no weighting be given for local content because it’s not expected the specific expertise needed for the engineering work would be available locally.

Cabott, however, pointed out there could be some room for local work with regular site visits and other aspects of the project that will have to be done in town. She noted some larger firms have offices in Whitehorse with staff that could be doing the local site visits. It was estimated there are about four firms with local offices that could submit proposals and another four with offices Outside that could.

Peter O’Blenes, the city’s director of infrastructure and operations, clarified at council’s Jan. 25 meeting that about 95 per cent of the work would likely be done by Outside expertise with about five per cent of the work being local site visits and the like.

While other members of council agreed with the rationale not to give any weighting for local content in the evaluation, Cabott remained firm in her stance that there should be some points awarded in the evaluation for local content.

“I can’t support it,” she said of the recommendation. “(It) seems contrary to where council wanted to be.”

The request for proposals on the work is expected to be released in February.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse city council

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