It appears a botched tender will force the Department of National Defence (DND) to reissue a standing offer for bus charters serving a major air force base in rural Nova Scotia.
It follows a complaint filed by a bus company in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley over the awarding of a standing offer to bus military personnel from 14 Wing Greenwood throughout Atlantic Canada.
Bluenose Transit Inc. of Cambridge, N.S., alleged the winning bid wasn't evaluated with the criteria stated in the request for standing offer.
The winner was Coach Atlantic Group from Charlottetown, which currently holds the standing offer for "passenger activity buses," which are essentially school buses.
Unclear what tender problem is
Coach Atlantic vice-president Matthew Cassidy said after a review, DND acknowledged problems with tender criteria that effectively made both competitors ineligible. He said he was not in a position to say what made the tender ineligible.
"We were asked a couple of questions. They were not specific enough that would allow me to comment on exactly what the issues were," he said.
He said he's looking forward to reapplying for the standing offer.
In October, Coach Atlantic was awarded an initial two-year, $240,000 standing offer for 40 to 48 buses to move members of the Canadian Forces, cadets and militia to and from Greenwood. The award includes an option to extend the contract for up to three more years.
Company who filed complaint declines comment
The company also supplies coach buses to Greenwood under a separate contract.
Bluenose Transit filed a complaint with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, which launched an inquiry earlier this month.
"Unfortunately, it is under litigation and I cannot comment," Bluenose president Shane Buchanan told CBC News.
The standing offer was handled by the federal Department of Public Works and Government Services, on behalf of DND.
"What we can tell you in the meantime is that we always seek to ensure best value for taxpayer money and will continue to do so through responsible contracting processes," DND spokesperson Andrew McKelvey said in an email to CBC.
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