The City of Prince Rupert is issuing a call for contractors, so they have a “go to”. Intersection of Sixth Ave and Fulton on Sept. 3 is currently under construction by city work crews. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

City looks for overall project contractor

Wants to lock in availability

The City of Prince Rupert is looking for a company it can depend upon for a wide variety of infrastructure projects over the next three years.

And city officials this week are pouring over bids received.

“[This] will allow the city to call upon the selected contractor as needed,” said city communications manager Veronika Stewart of what’s being called a master services agreement. It’ll have a three-year term and there will be a provision for a two-year extension.

“This is a way for the City to ensure we have contractor availability in a time of uncertainty (which includes possible/planned hyper-economic activity in our area), so projects can be completed in a timely manner, at the best possible value,” she added.

The services agreement will set out an agreed upon “time and materials” cost using an hourly rate provided by the company.

“The master services contract format will help the City provide better budget certainty, and importantly will also allow us to respond to infrastructure needs more nimbly,” said Stewart.

Services provided by the company could include access to work sites, security, traffic control, inspection and management and environmental management.

This will be a first for the City but Stewart noted that other communities in Canada frequently use such agreements.

“It’s important to note that within the contract, the City reserves the right to undertake competitive procurement processes, as appropriate. There is no guarantee of work associated with this proposal call; work is at the discretion of the City,” Stewart said.

There’s no project list set out to date but in the request for bids, the City did note it is planning improvements to “roads and sidewalks and associated sewer and water infrastructure and drainage improvements.”

Finding companies and workers to take on projects in the northwest has been on the radar of public and private sector officials for several years, with entities such as the City and SD 52 recently contracting firms from out-of-town or out-of-province. Due to the continuing improvement connected to the port authority with continued expansions, as well as other industrial projects such as the $40 billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas facility in Kitimat with accompanying pipeline, contractor availability is paramount.

Demand for contractor services in the region will increase next month as that’s when the province is scheduled to sign a contract to replace Terrace’s aging Mills Memorial Hospital. That cost has been tagged at $447.5 million and includes building a new mental health residential facility adjacent to the hospital.

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