Government gets low bids on three more Plan B tenders

Ryan Ross
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Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Robert Vessey addresses a crowd of protesters against his department's plan to realign the TransCanada highway in Churchill.

The provincial government has three more low bids for work on the Trans Canada Highway realignment, including from a company in which MLA Richard Brown is a shareholder.

The biggest was Island Construction's $8,246,838 bid for a roadwork tender that closed Tuesday.

It was the company's second low bid for work on the project, although neither tender has been awarded yet, pending approval of an environmental assessment.

The province also recently awarded tenders to Stratford-based Atlantic Hy-Span worth $441,456.05 for pre-cast concrete work and Nova Scotia-based Shaw Precast Solutions worth $705,042.40 for pre-cast arch and pipe sections.

Brown is a shareholder in a blind trust in Atlantic Hy-Span and his brother David is the company's president.

Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said every company that submitted bids did so in an open process with the lowest bid selected.

"It's as open and transparent as you can get," he said.

Vessey said three companies submitted bids for the concrete work Atlantic Hy-Span will be doing for the highway re-alignment. He also said the entire process has given Island companies a chance to compete in what he repeated was an open tender process.

"We wouldn't have it any other way," he said.

Last week the government announced Island Construction also had the lowest bid on the first tender for roadwork worth about $6.6 million.

It's all part of the $16-million budget the provincial and federal governments are cost sharing as part of the Atlantic Gateway improvements with work set to start next month.

Although the government hasn't awarded the Island Construction tenders yet, it has awarded them for the concrete work.

If the project fails its environmental assessment the province can keep the concrete structures for future use.

The environment assessment, which was presented to the public at a meeting Monday night, is one of the last steps for the project. Members of the public have 10 days as of Tuesday to make any submissions on the assessment.

From there, department staff will have to recommend approval to Environment Minister Janice Sherry, who will also have to sign off on it. If the assessment fails then the project won't proceed.

Vessey said the latest Island Construction bid was for a 3.2 kilometre section east of Riverdale Road.

The work Island Construction will do is expected to create about 200 jobs over the course of the construction, Vessey said.

"It's great economic impact on the province to keep all those dollars here," he said.

For the second tender Island Construction bid on, Vessey said four companies submitted bids, including two from the P.E.I.

Vessey said every successful company is assessed in its ability to carry out the necessary work.

"They all go through a process," he said.

With another Island company coming in with the latest low bid, Vessey said it was good for P.E.I.

"I think that's great news for the companies and taxpayers and the provincial economy."

Attempts were made to reach Brown for comment but were unsuccessful.

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Recent comments

  • Robert Vessey is not a crook
    August 29, 2012 - 17:50

    Robert Vessey saying the words "transparent and open" That's like Richard Nixon saying, "I'm not a crook."

  • George
    August 29, 2012 - 12:11

    Low Bids?? Take a number, any number. Make sure it is way too much. Any bid looks low and in the end Mr. Vessey will say "Look at all the money we saved". What a load of "fill" this is.

  • Garfield Pauley
    August 29, 2012 - 12:01

    (That's it !!!! ) They hired people with X-Ray vision, the clever scoundrels. Lol What are these post's? (The Conservative Campaign Rag)

  • Person
    August 29, 2012 - 11:34

    It looks like an abandoned property in my view. Not meaning to be mean ,but it does to me. I guess I shouldnt judge a book by its cover. But when you pass by a business first impressions can make a difference. Wheter they should or not.

  • rosieredrose
    August 29, 2012 - 11:00

    Every government wants to be remembered for something and the Gizz government have now selected theirs. No government ever listens to the people. Just as long as the money is there - it will be spent/wasted on unnecessary projects. Unfortunately the people really never have a say in these "over-the-top" projects. So sad about our PEI government..

  • NextTimeinDistrictTwelve
    August 29, 2012 - 10:57

    Eventually the bell tolls for us all in politics. In District 12 Charlottetown-Victoria Park we will elect a new NDP MLA in the election of 2015. Richard Brown, thank you for your services. Your ' rebellion' speech and associated musings of independence from last spring seem even more contrived and pathetic now. Your private corporate interests, your large pension and some good honest work should see you through from now on. All the best and thanks for all of the entertaining times. Your saunter through the nature trail with the Plan B protestors a few months back was one of the best for sure. Good luck in all of your future endeavours! You know it has been a very long, long time but it still feels like we barely knew ya!

  • sandimus
    August 29, 2012 - 10:38

    Environmental assessment being headed by former high school teammate of Ghiz. This drama, sure takes the spotlight off of HST. All these politicians, who are liars, thieves, and self serving, probably will be reelected by the auto-voting public. When I used to watch the coverage of our politicians on eastlink, I thought my view of the state of politics on this Island couldn't get worse.....I was clearly wrong. GONG SHOW

  • Trevor Leclerc
    August 29, 2012 - 08:51

    Why are we getting a highway realignment no one wants? Here is why: "The provincial government has three more low bids for work on the Trans Canada Highway realignment, including from a company in which MLA Richard Brown is a shareholder." It is all about enriching shareholders in the Island businesses "lucky enough" to be selected to do the work. " Would we be having this highway built if no MLAs could profit directly from the work?

  • Bill Kays
    August 29, 2012 - 08:47

    Let's face it ... blind trusts are a legal instrument designed to allow people to skirt the conflict of interest laws, rules, or what have you. It is common knowledge that these so called "BLIND" trusts are anything but blind. Backroom deals is all that happens anymore. When politicians move their lips they are lying. I have lost all faith in all levels of government.

  • Fed Up
    August 29, 2012 - 08:07

    Richard Brown a shareholder - his brother the PRESIDENT....and this is "an open and fair deal".........just like hiring supervisors who play basketball with Ghiz...even though the man had absolutely NO SKILLS for the job! How can we possibly stay in this province with this arrogant government! Make me not only fed up but sick to my stomach to see what they're doing to our province....there won't be one thing left of it for our children and grandchildren. What do they care...they all have big salaries - and possibly some under the table from the friends they're giving jobs to........???

  • Stratford Resident
    August 29, 2012 - 08:04

    I hope these are the last of the tenders to be called... Because the sum of tender prices for phase I and phase II plus the concrete structures and concrete work adds up to $15,997,647.99. Which is right on budget of $16 mil!

    • Ahhh, not quite.
      August 29, 2012 - 13:40

      Did you add in the cost for the untendered environmental assessment? They certainly didn't pay that company off with a few bucks. Stantic - Google Stantec, they have the biggest rubber stamp in the business. And how come there's so little mention of the existing highway - which is also to be worked on and maintained? The more we know, the more it stinks . . .

  • bob mac ewen
    August 29, 2012 - 07:46

    Ass backwards, - the environmental assessment meeting held after properties have been purchased, the tenders called and let in some cases, --- everything in place but Minister Sherry approval, - some process, --- no public consulation on this plan B what so ever. We are broke, owe the pension plan millions and this Government goes on its merry way. If you owe millions upon millions and have to go and borrow more, that is not good for the economy, no matter what the wise Mr. Vessey says, - it is pure folly that is what it is and we all know it, except for Ghiz & gang

  • Liars Den
    August 29, 2012 - 07:24

    Robert Vessey saying the words "open and transparent" is like Richard Nixon saying, "I am not a crook." There's only one thing open and transparent about Plan B and that's political corruption and ineptitude. The closer one gets to the project, the more repulsive the stench. Not only will I never vote Liberal again (something I have done for decades) I will work as hard as I can to make sure they never have power to do these types of things again . . .

    August 28, 2012 - 21:53

    OK.....great news!!! Island Construction will be able to create 200 jobs - perhaps they'll be able to employ the 200 road construction workers that were laid off this Spring because the govt couldn't afford to pay them to mend the appalling roads around the Island...........oooh, wait, hang on, isn't the govt forking out the money to pay Island Construction????? This would be laughable if it wasn't so serious. And it was obviously decided that Plan B was going to go ahead no matter what because the concrete structures have already made....

    August 28, 2012 - 21:50

    OK.....great news!!! Island Construction will be able to create 200 jobs - perhaps they'll be able to employ the 200 road construction workers that were laid off this Spring because the govt couldn't afford to pay them to mend the appalling roads around the Island...........oooh, wait, hang on, isn't the govt forking out the money to pay Island Construction????? This would be laughable if it wasn't so serious. And it was obviously decided that Plan B was going to go ahead no matter what because the concrete structures have already made....

  • leigh plusley
    August 28, 2012 - 20:52

    thought i was at a fashion show at last nights meeting, what with the chief ingeneer and bottle washer sallying forth in a long spaghetty straped everning gown---- hard heads maybe , but certainly no hard hats

  • al fredd
    August 28, 2012 - 20:48


  • don
    August 28, 2012 - 20:34

    HUH. no but it will with the past election and will help get votes for the next.

  • David
    August 28, 2012 - 20:25

    HUH...If you don't know how spending money is good for the economy they you really should just go back to school.

    • Michael
      August 29, 2012 - 18:58

      Private enterprise money, especially if it is coming in from outside, certainly! PUBLIC MONEY, being spent on a project that is only needed in the fanciful language inspired by a set of criteria, and being raised on the tax dollars demanded overwhelmingly of folk grossing $20-30,00 / year ($10-15 / hr. for 40-hr. work weeks), not on your economic life! Politic-speak at its very best, for an audience that won't think past the headline.

  • HuH
    August 28, 2012 - 20:05

    I am not sure how this is great news for the provincial economy. Perhaps Mr. Vessey would elaborate how spending these millions of dollars is good for the economy. Maybe good for a few contractors, but won't help the elderly, the ill, or those who can't pay for electricity, amongst other things come the HST

  • Islander
    August 28, 2012 - 19:36

    Oh come on! The minister's brother happens to win a tender but yet it is all transparent and no conflict of interest....yeah right. Not too hard to figure out how that company got the lowest bid....the minister knows what the other 2 bids are and then goes to his brother with those numbers and then the brother submits the lowest bid. What a bunch of bull, this government has to go, the abuse of their powers is criminal

      August 28, 2012 - 23:23

      To Islander ; Yes, I thought as well!! We should be asking a movie company to come here and make one of those corruption-and-dirty-deeds-in-high-places type made-for-TV movies. They could call it "Love Me Tender 2", ha, ha.

    • Seriously?
      August 29, 2012 - 05:55

      Do you actually know how an open tender process works? Care to be educated? Likely not, but I'll try anways. There is a call for tenders made weeks in advance, qualified companies are given opportunity to work out what their best price is for the job. There is a set closing time ie: 2pm this date. The sealed tenders are stamped with the time received and put in a sealed box ( in front of you no less) when you bring them in. ALL contractors that have submitted bids are invited to stay for the opening process and brought into a board room and ALL tenders are opened in from of them. So the contractors know when leaving the room whether they were low bid or not. It'd be a hard process to mess with for someone that doesn't have x-ray vision.

    • Pat
      August 29, 2012 - 10:59

      Seriously? Do you really think the posters on this website want to be educated? Give your head a shake!

    • Ed Gallant
      August 29, 2012 - 11:02

      For all you plugged in politicos- "News Flash" Richard Brown IS NOT a Minister.

      August 29, 2012 - 17:57

      To Seriously? - My apologies, how silly of me, I had forgotten that of course everything is done properly with this government : it's never had accusations of secret deals, money stuffed into envelopes, or anything fishy, no, no, squeaky clean. Anyway, I don't know why we're all worried because the money for Plan B (including the overrun) will be easily covered by the extra income from HST and the interest earned on hopeful immigrants' unreturned PNP deposit monies........

  • person
    August 28, 2012 - 19:21

    Is Island Construction the business on the way to Airport past the Humane Society?

    • pat
      August 28, 2012 - 21:48