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Ingraham Trail to cost $16 million
Still grumblings about negotiated contract policy

Danielle Sachs
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's expected the price tag for the realignment of the Ingraham Trail, a contract that's being given to the aboriginal development company, the Det'on Cho Corporation, will come to $16 million.

While no contract had been signed as of May 14, Roy Erasmus Jr., CEO of Det'on Cho Corporation, expects work to start in early June.

"It's a good policy that many Northern companies have benefited from, along with the Northern economy as a whole," said Erasmus.

The work was awarded through the GNWT's negotiated contracts policy, and has some opponents saying it wasn't the best option for a project of this scale.

Yellowknife MLAs Daryl Dolynny and Robert Hawkins have come out against the negotiated contract policy in this case, stating that other contractors should have had the opportunity to bid on the project.

"The negotiated contract policy is used for building capacity," said Dolynny. "But the Dettah Road project was also for building capacity. There are other companies that could have used this contract."

Dolynny also pointed out that this is the first sole-sourced contract of the fiscal year.

"In 2011 and 2012, there were five negotiated contracts and zero sole sourced, this will be the first one."

Erasmus said regardless of current reports, there are a lot of benefits to the negotiated contract policy. "Well, number one we get the contract," he said. "With that, we get to develop our construction business and we can get more experience."

Erasmus points to keeping jobs in the North as one of the ultimate benefits.

"We hire from the North and for this project we've also engaged a number of other local contractors," he said.

Det'on Cho Corporation has already invested $10 million in the purchase of equipment for the Ingraham Trail Realignment Project. All of it was spent locally, according to Erasmus.

While Erasmus is obviously pleased with the awarding of the contract, he said there's no reason the company wouldn't have bid on the same project through a public tender process.

'The negotiated contracts policy gives the opportunity for more back and forth," said Erasmus. "If you just go with the straight bidding process, there's less room for negotiation. This way, you're able to bounce ideas around and get more value out of your money."

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