Harbour Grace sued over stadium project
Olympic Construction’s proposal scored highest among three companies
A construction company that was in the mix to secure the contract to design and build the new stadium in Harbour Grace is suing the provincial government and the town.
Olympic Construction Limited is seeking over $1.4-million in special damages from the province and the Town of Harbour Grace, claiming both parties treated the company unfairly and in bad faith. That figure covers lost fees and prof- its it would have gained from the project.
According to a statement of claim filed last month with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Olympic’s bid was the most expensive of the three at almost $20.8 million. Pomerleau Inc. had the lowest bid at just under $18.5million, and that company eventually negotiated a contract price of $17.3-million plus taxes with design changes.
Under the terms of the request-for-proposals (RFP) documents, the evaluation team for the project would first look at technical proposals and score them out of 70, followed by the financial proposals, which would receive a score out of 30.
When the results were tallied, Olympic Construction had the highest technical score, earning 67.2 points out of 70. Pomerleau scored 62.1. When combined with scores based on financial proposals, Olympic’s bid came out on top with a 93.51 point total. Pomerleau was second at 92.1.
According to the statement of claim, the Department of Municipal Affairs subsequently recommended that the town rescore technical proposals “so that fewer points were awarded for the technical component of the evaluation criteria.”
This lowered the scores for all technical proposals, but more so for Olympic’s, which fell by almost four points to 63.35. Pomerleau’s score dropped by just over half a point to 61.67. Thus, Pomerleau now had the highest-scoring overall proposal.
Two months after the company learned Pomerleau and the town had a contract in place, Olympic attended a town-organized de-briefing session for unsuccessful bidders. There, a consultant advised the proposals were “evaluated strictly in accordance” with the requirements outlined in the RFP.
As the company with the highest-scoring proposal submission, Olympic Construction claims Municipal Affairs and the town were “obliged to provide Olympic with the opportunity to negoti- ate a contract while the other proponents were put on hold pending an award of the contract to Olympic.”
The company has a history of filing lawsuits over tenders awarded to other parties. In 2013, it won a decision against Eastern Health and received close to $1million after a judge found the regional health authority breached its tender contract for an extension to the Janeway Children’s Hospital in St. John’s. The Court of Appeal upheld that decision a year later.
A spokesman for Municipal Affairs said the department would not comment on a matter before the courts. Harbour Grace Mayor Terry Barnes did not return calls seeking comment.
The provincial government is responsible for 80 per cent of the project’s total cost, with the town on the hook for the remainder. Over the summer, the town announced the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is providing it a $1million grant to go toward the stadium project, which is being billed as a wellness centre.