Interior Roads has once again been awarded the contract for maintenance on provincial roads for several communities, including Williams Lake and Bella Coola.
The new contract will begin on July 1, 2019.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) confirms in an e-mail response that for the first time one of BC’s Indigenous communities has bid on a maintenance contract.
The Tsilhqot’in First Nations submitted a proposal for this service in a joint venture with other local contracting companies but were unsuccessful.
Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, says he is disappointed that its bid for the Area 17 Highway Service Contract was unsuccessful.
“The TNG has been working towards setting up sustainable economic development opportunities in the territory and beyond. The failure of the procurement process to take into account the perspective of First Nations and the positive outcomes of having a local First Nations company administer this contract is absolutely unacceptable,” Alphonse says.
“The economic outcomes of the Area 17 Highway Service Contract would have been vast for our Tsilhqot’in communities and the region. Decisions like this one work to further economic disparities within First Nations communities. This was BC’s chance to do the right thing and they completely failed to uphold promises of doing things differently.”
Alphonse says in his opinion this is grounds for a legal challenge on the procurement process.
“While their bid was not selected, we are pleased to see the Tsilhqot’in enter the process,” MoTI told MyCaribooNow.
“The Ministry will continue to work with the Tsilhqot’in to find ways to use their significant capacity to make improvements to area roads. Maintenance contracts are awarded through a fair and open bidding process.”