Whitehorse contractor fired off Whistle Bend pond repair project

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Whitehorse contractor fired off Whistle Bend pond repair project

Whitehorse contracting company Norcope Enterprises is asking for changes in how government contracts are handled after it was fired from a government project.

Norcope was hired last year to fix a man-made pond in the Whistle Bend subdivision that was beginning to look and smell like a sewage lagoon.

The $909,967 project included a new system for pumping water to better regulate the level of the pond.

The Community Services department says in a statement the project was behind schedule, and there were numerous deficiencies in the work done by Norcope Enterprises. 

The government took the contract away from Norcope on March 2. It says it will look for another contractor to finish the job and it's "cautiously optimistic" it can be completed soon, at little or no extra cost.

But a project manager with Norcope, Scott MacCallum, said deficiencies are not uncommon and contractors typically fix them.

MacCallum, who recently moved to Yukon from the Maritimes, said the Community Services department is using an outmoded method of handling contracts.

Problems with the design, working during the winter, and other factors also contributed to the problems, he said.

"Any other contractor that would have been in there if we weren't the low bid, somebody else would have had to work out the same issues," said MacCallum.

MacCallum said he wants to work with government officials to find ways to prevent something similar from happening again.

He cites an instance when Norcope, following the designs it was given, went to install an underground pipe and found an existing pipe had already been buried at the same level.

The government's solution also proved to be unworkable, he said, causing a considerable delay in the project.

He said Norcope will lose money on the project, and leaving it unfinished is a bitter blow to company owner Doug Gonder.

"You know everybody's got pride in their work and their business and their company," said MacCallum.

"It's a hard thing to swallow. Take away the financial impact, and the losses that we're trying to absorb here now... the other side of things still bothers him a great deal," he said.