Whistle Bend contract dispute being negotiated

It seems a contract dispute between the Yukon government and construction firm Norcope Enterprises may be settled out of court. In dispute is $.21 million in work on the Whistle Bend subdivision that was given to Sidhu Trucking.

It seems a contract dispute between the Yukon government and construction firm Norcope Enterprises may be settled out of court.

In dispute is $2.1 million in work on the Whistle Bend subdivision that was given to Sidhu Trucking. That’s work Norcope believes it should have been awarded, or at the very least, should have been tendered by the government.

When the lawsuit was filed on June 1, Paul Hutlet, vice-president of Castle Rock Enterprises, hoped the case would expose problems with the Yukon government’s tendering practices.

Now, an out-of-court settlement may keep the issue in the dark, he said.

“We will be monitoring and making sure that we get answers to any settlement agreement because it’s public money, and, whatever agreement they make behind closed doors, it should be made public,” said Hutlet.

Castle Rock also bid on the Whistle Bend contract but lost to Norcope even though its bid was $6.5 million lower.

Norcope’s case was supposed to go to court on July 28, but has been pushed back six weeks.

“The situation is that the hearing was adjourned till September 9, to provide the parties with time to meet and discuss the matter,” said Joanna Lilley, spokesperson for Community Services.

This is the second time the hearing has been adjourned.

In June, Norcope, which has a $15.9-million contract to install sewer and utility infrastructure in the new subdivision, parked several pieces of heavy equipment around the Yukon legislature to protest the government giving new work to Sidhu.

The company also filed suit against the government, accusing it of breach of contract, and sought an injunction to stop Sidhu from continuing with the work under dispute.

The injunction came before the court on June 24, but Justice Leigh Gower adjourned the hearing after he received a letter from Sidhu’s lawyers at the last minute.

The letter argued Sidhu was never properly notified of the hearing and needed time to prepare a defence.

The legal manoeuvring hasn’t delayed or stopped construction of the subdivision.

“The work is progressing and there is no delay because of the court action,” said Lilley.

That’s good news.

According to an affidavit filed by Community Services, even a small delay in this season’s construction could put the project back a full year, until 2014.

That was the rationale for giving the work to Sidhu over Norcope in the first place.

In the spring, the subdivision’s design was amended.

The new plan required hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of additional soil and gravel to raise road and lot levels.

Norcope assumed the work fell within the scope of its contract, so it bought and leased additional equipment.

Norcope was given two chances to submit new pricing and schedules.

The company said it needed another 31 days to complete the additional work.

On May 24, the government rejected Norcope’s schedule and gave the job to Sidhu.

“Awarding new work to (Norcope) would strain (its) resources to the limit and result in increased costs and unacceptable delays in the project,” wrote the government in its affidavit.

That left Norcope holding the bag for its new equipment.

The company accused the government of breach of contract and sought to recover its costs.

But the work was never within the scope of the original contract, said the government response. It accused Norcope of breaching the contract.

The government is also seeking damages associated with Norcope’s protest.

According to court filings, Norcope misrepresented itself when bidding for the original contract by neglecting to tell the government it planned to use a subcontractor, Cobalt Contracting, to supply gravel.

Naming subcontractors was required under the terms of the tender and contract.

“Norcope’s conduct was reprehensible, vexatious and deserving of special costs,” the government wrote.

In reading the court filings, the two parties seem be far apart. But negotiations are continuing.

“The parties are talking and trying to work together to resolve the issue,” said Lilley.

Contact Josh Kerr at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read