Contract concerns
Iqaluit hires southern firms to conduct solid waste review, deputy mayor upset

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Oct 18/99) - Some members of Iqaluit town council are upset that two southern-based companies have been awarded a contract to investigate the predicament at the town's solid waste site.

A contract worth $225,000 was jointly awarded to J.L. Richards & Associates and Golder Associates Ltd., two Ottawa-based companies, at last week's council meeting.

A committee of five people used a point system to rate each of the six proposals received by the Town of Iqaluit for a comprehensive and conclusive review of alternatives to the open-burn landfill site that is currently in use.

But not all council members are happy with the committee's decision to choose a southern firm to handle the workload.

Deputy mayor Ben Ell said he would have liked to see one of the five Northern companies that submitted proposals chosen to conduct the extensive research and review.

"What's the incentive of starting a business here if we always award the tender to a southern company," asked Ell during the meeting.

"Every time we tender a contract it's to a southern firm."

The committee, which consisted of councillor Matthew Spence, three town administrators and an employee of the GN, said their choice had the most comprehensive and solid proposal.

"The process was very transparent and detailed and each proposal was scrutinized for content," said Spence.

"Our choice was the most comprehensive and had the best public consultation process."

The other companies, one of which was the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation, lost out on a point system that closely rated company history, Northern exposure, team description, methodology, cost, business incentive and the proposal itself.

And although the chosen firm did not have the lowest bid, Spence said when it came down to the nuts and bolts they had the best proposal.

"J.L. Richards has extensive Northern exposure in solid waste planning and management and Golder is world renowned," said Spence.

Councillor Doug Lem asked if they could wait on the decision and discuss the choice at the next meeting, but town engineer Denis Bedard said time was of the essence.

"This project is extremely important. The public is waiting on it, the (Nunavut) water board is waiting on it, the GN is waiting," he said.

"And drilling has to be done as soon as possible before everything freezes."

The company will examine Iqaluit's garbage system as well as many other cities in Canada and the U.S. to determine what method would best replace the landfill that only has an estimated year-and-a-half left in its lifespan.

The two Ottawa companies are also working on the town's new general plan and zoning bylaw.