Manitoba

Winnipeg awards $180M sewage-plant contract to Ontario firm

Winnipeg has awarded a major sewage-plant construction contract to an Ontario-based firm despite a labour group's concerns a slightly more expensive Manitoba bid was overlooked.

Labour representative lobbied councillors to consider slightly more expensive Manitoba bid

Winnipeg has awarded an Ontario-based firm a $180-million contract to do some of the upgrades at the South End Water Pollution Control Centre. (CBC)

Winnipeg has awarded a major sewage-plant construction contract to an Ontario-based firm despite a labour group's concerns that a slightly more expensive Manitoba bid was overlooked.

Council's water-and-waste committee voted Monday to award a $180-million contract to Morriston, Ont.-based NAC Constructors, the lowest bidder on a job that involves upgrades at the second-largest of the city's three sewage-treatment plants, the South End Water Pollution Control Centre.

Before the vote, the Construction Labour Relations Association of Manitoba urged the committee to consider other bids, including a $182-million proposal that involved PCL Construction, which has a Winnipeg office.

Peter Wightman, executive director of the association, said more money remains in the Manitoba economy when local companies receive the work.

Couns. Brian Mayes (St. Vital), Scott Gillingham (St. James-Brooklands-Weston), Ross Eadie (Mynarski) and Matt Allard (St. Boniface) nonetheless accepted an administrative recommendation to choose the lowest bidder.

Mayes explained his vote by calling contract selection a rigorous, almost judicial process.

The contract is one component of $336 million worth of upgrades to the South End plant.

The work awarded to NAC involves mechanical and electrical improvements at the plant, a new substation, a new control system for the plant, new chemical-electrical and grit-screening buildings and repurposing decommissioned components to further digest sewage and control odour, a city report says.​