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New contracting partnership struck
Replacement for Dowland Contracting formed by Mid-West and IDC

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 13, 2014

There's a new player on the Inuvik construction scene that's thinking big.

nnsl photo

Garrett Dick and Tom Miller are two of the local construction workers employed on the restoration work at the Inuvialuit Development Group (IDG) building. Mid-West Design & Construction is managing the project and has just entered into a partnership with the IDG to tackle larger projects around the delta. - Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo

The Inuvialuit Development Corporation (IDC) has established a new joint venture with Mid-West Design & Construction Ltd. to form a new local construction company called Nappaq Construction Ltd.

Denny Rodgers, the general manager of the IDC, has been the point man for the new venture that came about due to a stroke of serendipity.

Rodgers said Mid-West had been hired to build the new Aklak Air building last year, and their work made an impression on the IDC.

The corporation had already been considering making a bid on the construction of a new RCMP detachment office for Inuvik, but needed a partner with large-project management and construction experience to make it more feasible.

The new detachment will likely cost $18 million to $20 million to build, Rodgers said. Projects of that size had previously been the domain of Dowland Contracting Ltd., which has now closed.

"Basically it's a joint venture between IDC and Mid-West. "That company was the successful bidder on the new hanger we've just done for Aklak Air. From that, we saw an opportunity.

"Fortunately we now have an opportunity to bid on these bigger projects coming up in Inuvik like the RCMP building (due to Dowland's closure)," Rodgers said. "We thought we would form a partnership and make a bid."

Mid-West Design & Construction's head office is located in Lethbridge, Alta., Rodgers said, but the company has four offices in total.

"They've done work in the North," Rodgers said. "They're not new to this."

The IDC will retain a majority interest in the partnership, he explained.

"If you look at it, not only was Dowland the biggest general contractor, they provided a lot of work for their own workforce locally. They provided a lot of work for the subtrades here, whether that's mechanical, electrical, plumbing, etc. So with them not being here anymore, what will typically happen is that these other big contractors out of Yellowknife or Alberta will come in, bid on a big job, and then they may or may not use the local subtrades."

"Our plan," he continued, "is to use all of those local subtrades."

Jim MacDonald, who heads up MacDonald Bros. Electric Ltd., is one of those sub-contractors who will be in a position to benefit from Nappaq.

"It's good to see someone might be in a position to replace Dowland," MacDonald said. "There's maybe five or six sub-contractors in town."

MacDonald estimated as many as 100 people or more could be employed in projects as large as Rodgers described.

That's what is currently happening with the work being done on the IDC building.

Mid-West has hired primarily local sub-contractors, Rodgers said, much like is being proposed for the new partnership.

"That's the whole point. It's not to come in and try to take away any work from the existing people, but rather to work with them and hopefully keep everyone busy," Rodgers said.

Currently, Rodgers said there are no companies large enough in Inuvik to tackle a project such as the IDG building restoration or the new RCMP detachment as the primary contractor. Nappaq Construction will fill that void, and help spread the wealth around.

The company is also looking at the money allocated to the NWT Housing Corporation in last week's GNWT budget to build more residential units.

"It's going to provide training opportunities as well," Rodgers said.

Nappaq is currently working on its first tendered contract, which is to build a base camp for Parks Canada at Tuktut Nogait National Park.

"I hope people see this as good news," Rodgers said.

Nappaq will restrict itself, at least for the moment, to what could be called medium-sized projects, such as the RCMP detachment building, said Laura Wormsley-Brown, the director of corporate relations.

"We won't be building a school or anything like that," she said.

The tender for the new RCMP offices is expected to open for bids in March.

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