Arena reno has little local contractor interest

With three major projects underway in the Burns Lake area there should be no shortage of work available for local contractors.

The renovation and expansion of the Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena and curling rink are on schedule and on budget

With three major projects underway in the Burns Lake area, the rebuild of the Babine Forest Products sawmill, the construction of the Burns Lake hospital, and the renovation and expansion of the Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena and curling rink, there should be no shortage of work available for local contractors.

One project, the renovation and multi-use facility expansion of the Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena and curling rink, has not had much success with finding Burns Lake contractors for work tendered.

“I have to be honest,” said Mark Van Ek, Venture Pacific Construction founder and principal, “We’re struggling a bit with trying to get local trade interest.”

“We’re having to go out as far as Smithers, Prince George and some other outlying areas.”

Smithers-based companies were awarded roofing and drywall contracts. Framing was awarded to a Fraser Lake contractor, with concrete and foundation work awarded to a Prince George contractor.

Concrete supply went to a Telkwa concrete supplier who submitted a lower bid package than a local concrete contractor.

Price is not necessarily the deciding actor when it comes to who gets awarded a bid. Venture Pacific undertakes due diligence to ensure that bidders are qualified for the work tendered – which means the lowest bid doesn’t necessarily win – but the project does have budget constraints.

“Lower price isn’t always the case, but under the design-build scenario, it is a large factor,” Van Ek said.

Two of the major sub-trades were included in the bid package even before the Village of Burns Lake awarded the design and build project to VPC.

Smithers Electric Ltd. and Aqua North Plumbing Ltd., both out of Smithers, were part of VPC’s original bid package.

“They were part of our team at the proposal stage,” Van Ek said.

“We put a lot of effort and time into getting locals as much as possible,” he added. “Despite all our efforts to involve Burns Lake as much as possible, we just did not get Burns Lake bidders on bid day for some of the packages.”

Venture Pacific advertised tender packages as they came available. Staff at VPC head office in Langley used the Burns Lake phone book and a list of contractors provided by the VBL to call local contractors and solicit interest in the project.

Rick Williston, VPC’s site supervisor and journeyman carpenter, hired three local workers to assist with aspects of the project.

Van Ek pointed out that the other major construction projects in town may have affected the availability of local tradespeople.

Currently, VPC is accepting bids on its third tender package, which includes finishing work, painting, flooring, and tile.

Venture Pacific has no contractual commitment with the VBL on this project to give preferential treatment to local contractors, although they do strive to hire locally.

“We are the design and build contractor with a fixed price contract, or to put it more simply, we are a general contractor and our contract includes design responsibility,” Van Ek explained. “On all our projects our desire is to involve local trades and suppliers as much as possible.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vehicles waiting for the highway to reopen. (Shashank Bangera photo/Lakes District News)
Vehicle incident claims life on Highway 16 east of Burns Lake

The accident resulted in highway closure

The victim of a homicide in Houston is Pietro Adamo. (Photo courtesy the RCMP)
Man dies from injuries following assault

Investigators looking for information on this homicide

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

(Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory Facebook screenshot)
Ceremony a right at proposed CGL pipeline drill site: BC Union of Indian Chiefs

Indigenous land defenders cannot be criminalized and targeted, argues UBCIC

(File graphic)
Man dies in Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) after being taken into police custody

IIO and BC Corners Service conducting independent investigations

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. sees record-breaking daily COVID infections with 499 new cases over weekend

Two people, both in the Lower Mainland, died due to the virus over the weekend

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read