McIntyre Creek pumphouse photographed on Jan. 9. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Whitehorse tries again to upgrade the McIntyre Creek pumphouse

Council is considering sole-sourcing the pumphouse contract

A project that was tendered and cancelled twice in 2018 may be awarded to the only company to have applied for it both times.

At the Whitehorse city council standing committees meeting on Jan. 7, Geoff Quinsey, manager of water and waste services told council that the McIntyre Creek pumphouse needs an upgrade to “ensure sufficient domestic supply pressures and maintain fire flows for the Kulan, Porter Creek, and Whistle Bend neighbourhoods.”

A tender for the project, issued in May 2018, was cancelled after Duncan’s Ltd. was the only company to respond with a bid that was over budget. A second tender was issued in October. Again, Duncan’s was the only company to respond, this time with a bid that said the project couldn’t be completed within the city’s specified timeframe.

The tender was cancelled again. City staff then negotiated a sole-source contract agreement with Duncan’s, with a new price of $375,231, and a new completion date of July 31, 2019.

Because the contract fee exceeds the initial project budget of $207,258, Quinsey asked council to re-budget the 2018 capital project for the McIntyre Creek Booster Station; amend the 2019 capital budget from $207,258 to $450,000, funded by the water and sewer reserve; waive the public bidding process; and award the contract to Duncan’s.

Coun. Samson Hartland wanted to know if the project was something that had been identified in previous years. Quinsey said it was initially identified in 2015.

Quinsey told council that the difference in price between the estimated cost and the actual cost is the result of a number of factors. He said the cost for mechanical work has changed significantly since 2015. As well, he said it’s difficult to estimate cost before finalizing design, which is something staff were trying to do for this project.

“Without peeling back too many layers, for me, it sort of demonstrates how important an asset management plan or strategy would be,” said Hartland.

Hartland also raised the issue of an asset management plan at the Dec. 10 council meeting, during second and third reading of the 2019 to 2022 capital budget.

“I don’t know if this would help us identify this sooner and potential purveyors to do the work. We’re kind of a victim of the RFP process but, at the same time, a lot of time elapsed before (now) and what I’m reading is, you know, Whistle Bend built out sooner than expected, and we brought the continuing care facility online, and now we need more pressure, and so I struggle with how we find ourselves in this position right now.”

Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu wanted to know if the city had asked other local contractors why they didn’t apply for the job. Quinsey said that staff had, and one company said a lack of capacity meant they were unable to pursue the project.

Curteanu also asked about council’s authority to sole-source a contract. Quinsey told her council does have the authority to okay such a contract.

Hartland asked what it means that city staff have already started negotiating with Duncan’s.

“Are we essentially committed to this or does it depend on council vote?” he asked, noting Quinsey’s characterization of the contract as atypical. “Because I really get the impression that we don’t have much of a choice. I just wonder whether we’re actually locked into something that we most definitely couldn’t back out of. What were to happen if council were to reject this?”

Quinsey said it has been made clear to Duncan’s that there is, at this point, no guarantee of a project. City staff have spoken with the company to look at ways the project might move forward.

“We sought, from Duncan’s, feedback on how they could reduce the cost of the work and also expedite the work because both keeping the project closer to the prescribed budget and achieving that quicker completion date were stated objectives from the city,” he said.

“So we asked Duncan’s to bring forward ideas for how they could make the project more cost-effective, or more time-effective and so that would be how I would typify it as atypical. But no, we were abundantly clear to Duncan’s that this was not a contract-based situation when they sat down with us to negotiate.”

The issue will come forward at the Jan. 14 regular council meeting.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read