Whitehorse contracting dispute still unresolved
Whistlebend construction may be behind schedule, says Liberal leader
There is no resolution in a Whitehorse contractor's dispute with the Yukon government over work at the city's Whistlebend subdivision, raising concerns that the entire project is falling behind schedule.
Norcope Enterprises has parked some of its heavy equipment, including rock trucks, outside the territorial government's main building in downtown Whitehorse since June 8.
Norcope owner Doug Gonder claims his company won a $15.9-million government contract to work on the new Whistlebend residential subdivision, but about $2 million worth of additional earth-moving work was given to another contractor, Sidhu Trucking and Contracting, without any negotiation or bidding.
However, threats of a pending lawsuit against the Yukon government have yet to materialize. No legal claims have been filed, and a Yukon Supreme Court hearing scheduled for Friday has been cancelled.
Meanwhile, both Norcope Enterprises and Sidhu Trucking are working in the Whistlebend area this week, with Norcope crews trenching and laying water and sewage lines, and Sidhu crews hauling rock and gravel fill.
Minister not commenting
Community Services Minister Archie Lang has refused to comment on the Norcope dispute to date. Liberal Opposition Leader Arthur Mitchell said Lang should explain the situation to Yukoners.
"It's not an issue, to me, as to whether it's Contractor A or Contactor B, but rather that this government seems to have gone into hibernation mode and are not providing clear direction and answers," Mitchell told reporters on Thursday.
Mitchell said he is concerned that the Whistlebend subdivision lots may not be ready for next year as planned, despite an ongoing housing shortage that is driving the need for new lots.
"We can't afford in a city that has a less than one per cent vacancy rate, where the average house costs $400,000-plus, to not have housing made available for yet another year," he said.
"They're talking the fall of 2012. The real concern is, are we now looking at 2013?"
Community Services spokesman Matt King told CBC News that the Whistlebend project is still on schedule.
King said work on Sidhu Trucking's contract should be completed by August, and the first phase of Whistlebend building lots should be ready for market by next summer.