Saturday , 23 October 2021

Local companies frustrated they can’t bid on BCHS modernization

With the anticipation of the school modernization of Bonnyville Centralized High School, local contractors are miffed they will not be allowed to bid on the project.

Alberta Infrastructure committed to a shortlist of the three to five highest-scoring contractors for the project before it goes to tender and the two local companies in the mix, GenMec ACL and Nova Construction, did not qualify to bid.

Reginald Roy, GenMec, said he doesn’t understand why the provincial government is limiting competition on the school modernization and not allowing them to bid.

“This particular project is one kilometer from our office. And our company employs a significant amount of local people who pay local taxes. To not even be considered to me is just wrong,” said Roy.

“It’s also wrong that they’re not considering other contractors that are equally qualified to do this. I’m not asking to get the job. I’m asking for the opportunity to put a price on the job,” he said.

Aman Builders, Bird, Delnor Construction, Jen-Col, and Stuart Olson – all construction companies from Edmonton-area and Calgary – have been given the green light to bid and will be issued tender documents soon, confirmed Diane Carter, press secretary, Alberta Infrastructure.

The BCHS modernization is supposed to begin in January after being pushed back from the summer once the contractor is in place.

“Nova is very disappointed. We’re a company that tries anything and everything to keep the local people working. And we’re disheartened that we were not allowed an opportunity to bid on the project,” said Norm Vallee, president of Nova Construction.

‘A beauty pageant’

MLA David Hanson said he’s met with the Chief of Staff from Alberta Infrastructure and a local contractor to see if there’s will to increase the number allowed to bid on the project.

He hopes it isn’t too late to see changes with the BCHS process.

“It’s a number they’ve picked arbitrarily and each company on the list presents a proposal and the one that meets their criteria and basically, it’s almost like a beauty pageant,” said Hanson.

“Unfortunately, our local guys didn’t match up with some of the bigger companies from Edmonton, Calgary…but to me the more bids you get in, the more competitive it’s going to be.

“We have at least a couple of local companies that are more than capable of taking on the project, especially with the state of our economy up there, I would really like to see them included. We’re not asking anybody to give anyone anything but the opportunity.”

‘Local economy’

“The school will get built one way or another but the big contractors out of Edmonton generally do not contribute like we would to the local economy and the charitable organizations around town,” said Reginald Roy.

“To me, this looks bad on our government and trying to do business with businesses in this province. They’re just making it harder and harder all the time.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.