Har­bour Grace sued over sta­dium pro­ject

Olympic Con­struc­tion’s pro­posal scored high­est among three com­pa­nies

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

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.

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