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Town supports concept of negotiated contract

GDC, IRC working together on proposal to build Aurora campus

Malcolm Gorrill
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Dec 07/01) - Inuvik Town Council has decided to support the concept of a negotiated contract for the construction of the new Aurora College campus.

The Gwich'in Development Corporation and Inuvialuit Regional Corporation are working together to try to secure a negotiated contract for the college with the territorial government. The contract is worth about $9 million.

GDC is partnered with Ketza Construction Group and IDC owns 51 per cent of Dowland Construction Ltd.

The issue sparked debate during the Nov. 28 council meeting, in part because some councillors did not wish to send a letter naming specific firms. One of them was Denny Rodgers.

"The Town of Inuvik, representing all taxpayers, all Inuvik businesses, I don't think we should name businesses when we send a letter of support," Rodgers said.

Coun. Don Craik agreed, as did deputy mayor Arlene Hansen.

"I was elected to represent the entire community," Hansen said.

"I have difficulty supporting specific groups or businesses by excluding other groups. That's my position."

Motion approved

In the end a compromise was reached.

Council passed a motion supporting the GNWT "using a negotiated contract in the construction of the new Aurora College facility, and further that the town supports the use of local contractors that have the capacity to handle the completion of the project."

Hansen was the only one to vote against the motion.

Tom Connors, chief executive officer for GDC, addressed council for the second time on this matter. Council first considered the issue earlier in November and put off making a decision until last week.

"It is in our interest, and I think the town's, to support local business," Connors said.

"The expenditures are going to stay here. I think that's in everybody's best interests."

Connors had letters of support from Inuvik Twin Lakes MLA Roger Allen, as well as from Inuvik Boot Lake MLA Floyd Roland. Connors pointed out Roland's support was on the condition that all local contractors would have the chance to bid on the subcontracts.

"We don't have a problem with that," Connors said. "On a day to day basis we contract locally anyway."

It was generally agreed by Connors and council that the two groups vying for the contract are the only local firms capable of carrying it out.

Coun. Vince Sharpe expressed strong support for the negotiated contract idea, saying that if the contract goes to tender, and GDC and IRC lose, then a southern firm will win it.

"It does nothing but benefit the community," Sharpe said. "Everything can stay local."

Coun. Clarence Wood stated he was originally against the concept of a negotiated contract, but that if the firms involved would guarantee using local labour and contractors as much as possible, then he would support the proposal.