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October 27, 2017 9:27 pm

Who Benefits From Site C Direct Award Contracts?

Sunday, August 28, 2016 @ 9:21 AM

by Dermod Travis,

Another megaproject, another chance to dole out direct award contracts.

In April, the Alaska Highway News filed an access to information request for a list of the direct award contracts signed during the first stages of Site C dam construction. The list provided to the News at the end of July covers the period from Jan. 1 2014 to Feb. 29, 2016 and is as interesting for what’s in it, as for what’s redacted.

Unless a specific exemption exists, B.C. government rules dictate that the purchase of materials and service or construction contracts must be put to public tender when they exceed $25,000 and $100,000 in value respectively. Some of the exemptions BC Hydro relied on for its direct awards, included: critical expertise, extension due to increased scope and time constraints.

The École polytechnique fédérale, Ducks Unlimited, two consultants and 23 companies are on the list. The contracts ranged in value from $30,373 to $900,000, but that’s only for the awards the utility disclosed.

Four of the 23 companies and the value of their contracts were redacted, as was the value of contracts with six other companies, including Duz Cho Construction, IDL Projects and Paul Paquette and Sons. According to BC Hydro’s list of payments to suppliers – between April 2013 and March 2015 – the utility paid Paquette and Sons $49,343, Duz Cho Construction ($6.16 million) and IDL Projects ($6.997 million). Presumably – all or part of the direct award payments – are included in those totals.

Odd that BC Hydro uses one piece of legislation to redact information that it’s obligated to disclose under another.

There’s no “he’s a swell guy” exception, but you get a sense from some of the awards that the ‘swellness’ of the recipient may have been a factor.

Telus signed a $900,000 contract for mobile telecommunications, due to its “critical expertise.” Fido may draw issue with that. Coincidentally, Telus has donated $481,366 to the B.C. Liberal party, not including an additional $52,883 in personal donations from two of its in-house lobbyists.

The services of B.C. resident and former Kiewit & Sons vice-president Frank Margitan were acquired through a $336,000 contract with a numbered Alberta company. Hopefully that was for work other than the “independent panel” of industry experts that Margitan chaired in 2014 to vouch for BC Hydro’s Site C cost estimates. Hand-picked and independent don’t really go together, particularly when Margitan selected the other three panel members.

Don Fairbairn won a $157,500 contract to perform “due diligence,” due to his “critical experience.” Fairbairn’s critical experience is in high demand for direct award contracts in B.C. no matter the task: hydro facilities, homelessness and addiction issues, bridges and wastewater treatment plants.

In 2006, he and former Premier Gordon Campbell’s deputy minister Ken Dobell were directly awarded a $300,000 contract to develop “a new model for addressing the problem of homelessness amongst residents battling addiction and/or mental health.”

He’s had a string of good luck at Partnerships B.C., pulling in $473,456 in contracts from 2006-07 to 2014-15. In 2011, he was appointed to the board of directors of the Transportation Investment Corporation, picking up an extra $75,125 (and counting).

There was his $91,192 payment in 2013 with Columbia Power, to advise the “CEO on strategic planning, corporate development and organizational performance.” The $280,000 per year CEO at the time? Jane Bird. In June, he was appointed to the Capital Regional District’s wastewater treatment project panel, chaired by Bird.

Sometimes direct award contracts have a funny habit of seeing their value change between the award’s announcement and final delivery of the services. A few have the temerity to suggest that low-balling the value of work at the outset may occasionally be done as a means to circumvent government rules on direct awards.

One of the more audacious examples was highlighted in the comptroller general’s report on the 2012 health ministry firings. The ministry directly awarded a $25,000 research contract on an Alzheimer’s drug therapy and then later hiked its value to nearly $2.4 million without putting it back out to public tender.

Here’s an idea. Instead of requiring media outlets to file access to information requests to obtain partially redacted lists of direct award contracts, perhaps B.C. should rip a page from Alberta’s playbook and simply disclose direct awards routinely online.

Dermod Travis is the executive director of IntegrityBC. www.integritybc.ca


Dermond you should do an investigation into IPP’s and wind farms. Unless you are biased toward them in some favourite way.

You will find a surprising relationship in involving the liberals and friends of liberals.

    Such as?

      He’s channeling his inner Donald .

Site C has always been about creating a few jobs in the short term, and of course awarding lucrative contracts. There has never been a case made to show that this power is actually needed.

Its a shame that lowbrow politicians can pull off these kinds of shenanigans for no other reason than to try and get re elected.

We would be much better off establishing Natural Gas electrical plants in strategic areas in the Province with the goal of producing cheap energy for those people who live in those area’s and for industry to locate there.

We could have one in Terrace, Prince George, Ft St John, Kelowna, and Greater Vancouver area. These plants would create 1500 to 2000 jobs over the next five years, generate more electricity than we would ever need, create a market for natural gas, and provide cheap power to BC Citizen, Farmers, Industry, etc;.

In addition we would not have to flood the Peace River Valley, and run the risk of having the surrounding land fall into the reservoir and river over time.

Site C is and will be a man made disaster and the Government should back away from this folly. Will it??? At this point in time one would have to say they do not have the intellectual acumen to properly asses the situation and make the right decisions.

    A little education goes a long ways , as always . Use this ” List of generating stations in British Columbia ” in Wikipedia. There is a growing glut of electricity in the USA market . By the time siteC is built there will be no market for it . That’s a tragedy of this dam . Solar has crossed a very wide line in The Chilean market 2.91 cents a kWh unsubsidized . This is less than a third the price we pay . It is also less than the cost of transmittion . Christy doesn’t care about jobs . her pockets are her only concern .

      Ataloss, you never did reply to my request for a comment on a recent post. I’ll post it again!

      From Chris Mooney, the Washington Post, August 11, 2106

      “Turns out wind and solar have a secret friend: Natural gas”

      ht tps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/08/11/turns-out-wind-and-solar-have-a-secret-friend-natural-gas/?utm_term=.4a6d4f5975b6

      From Chris Mooney, the Washington Post, August 11, 2106 = this is one of the reasons that I don’t reply to your posts . The other was , why would I respond to a Jeff Bezos rag artical promoted by the Natgas lobby . The nuclear industry is also prattling on about base load use the same bogus refrains . They both know what’s coming and what the game change is and they are both going to be toast. Not because of climate change or pollution or the dangers involved but because of the simple economics . Not too long from now the price of solar will be cheaper than the price of transmittion in North America . What’s coming ? Batteries , very cheap batteries both new and used from millions of half life batteries in EVs .

      Ataloss, from the Washing Post article:

      “The new research, published recently as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, was conducted by Elena Verdolini of the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change and the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in Milan, Italy, along with colleagues from Syracuse University and the French Economic Observatory.

      In the study, the researchers took a broad look at the erection of wind, solar, and other renewable energy plants (not including large hydropower or biomass projects) across 26 countries that are members of an international council known as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development over the period between the year 1990 and 2013. And they found a surprisingly tight relationship between renewables on the one hand, and gas on the other.”

      Ataloss, isn’t this info a “gas”, haha!

      Once again, Ataloss resorts to his usual ad hominems in lieu of reasoned response. Not that anyone’s surprised by that, we all know it’s pretty difficult to argue that solar doesn’t need baseload back-up as he claims in the face of stark reality.

      So what has the Chilean market have to do with electricity In British Columbia???

So what has the Chilean market have to do with electricity In British Columbia??? We are in direct compition with Chili in many fields . Their wine industry is also going solar . As are their mining and many other sectors . Why do you think Christy is giving away free hydro to BCs flailing mining industry ?

    Free Hydro? The only ones getting free hydro are the electric vehicle charging stations

So ataloss how come you haven’t gone solar?

Palopu so you are saying natural gas construction would be all above board?..

Build ng near load centers good luck with that. Lala land wants Burrard gone and imagine buildind a plant in lala land 2, the okanagan.

Just me keeping my eyes on the prize! This news story is about the Christy Clark BC Liberals (in name only) giving out our taxpaying money to her loyal followers and supporters.

But don’t mind me, or this story, please do carry on with your alt energy verse fossils rant.

    Goofy article, most of these companies also donated to the NDP. Does it mean if your company donates to a party they can never be awarded a job? Sure sounds that way by the tone of the article. This article doesn’t list direct award contracts to companies that donated to the NDP, that wouldn’t make good copy.

Of course, solar power, wind power and other renewables are growing and improving their efficiency! Hydro and natural gas (the cleaner fossil fuel) are being used for backup! Personally I do not see anything wrong with that, in fact I always thought that the transition to would have to be that way! I fail to see any controversy at all. It is a process in transition! Just wait until there is a global agreement on carbon cap and trade or carbon pricing! The G20 are meeting in China and while the meeting is going on, the industry in that Chinese city has been ordered to shut down! The air pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels is so bad that one can not see the end of a city block! Keep on defending the burning of fossil fuels and ridiculing the renewable efforts, but the hand writing is on the wall!

    What’s the deal about carbon or c02? Do you have some proof that man’s miniscule contribution it having some effect and if there is how much?.

    About 40 of wailing about c02 and not one prediction has come true. Energy costs rising, hundreds of billions spent on the world’s biggest scam. Money that could have been used in desease research.

    People like Gore making big money off cap and trade and pray time me the end result. Our carbon tax scam, what has been the end result, anybody?

      Of course you conveniently side stepped my point about the terrible air pollution resulting from the global combustion of fossil fuels! I honestly did not expect you to defend this pollution which is causing sickness and early death of millions of people!

      Not everything in life has to have money as the prime motivator of what we do and what we stand for! With the ever growing world population we need to change in many ways! So what if the trees will grow faster! You keep mentioning the trees! Who cares how fast they grow? What about the people?

Not to forget that all kinds of industry will look at the prospect of establishing in B.C. where they can operate with clean hydro power without having to deal with carbon cap and trade or pricey carbon charges by the ton! A surplus of clean hydro is in my opinion a preferable marketable asset and valuable incentive!

Christy and friends using Site C, and our tax dollars, to pay off her supporters / party contributors… yet hardly a peep from her mindless minions. Its OK, its all part of doing politics. This is where we are at people, nothing WRONG here, move along!!! How low can we go? It’s a race to the bottom.

    Give us all a list of what supporters and/or party contributors are being paid off! How much did they contribute and how much have they received in payoffs!

    At the same time, be sure to note if any of those on your list have also contributed to the NDP or the Greens!

    If you have such a list and if you indisputable concrete evidence to back up your claims, then you should get off of your arse and go report this to the RCMP!

    If you don’t have such a list and you don’t have the concrete evidence to support your claims, then you might wish to stop making such claims!

      I agree! Let us have a list of names! Retract you accusations and apologize if you can’t produce one!

Perhaps the best way to look at this situation is for someone to give us a list of all the NDP supporters that have got a contract from the Government for work at Site C.

Seamutt . The area around the cities I mentioned is huge. There is no need to locate a plant in downtown Kelowna. As an example we could build a plant on the Hart Highway around Summit Lake if we chose to.

These plants need only be located near an already established natural gas pipeline, and close to the already established power lines. Keep in mind that most of the power would be used in the area the plant is located in. The power from the gas plants free’s up power from the WAC Bennet dam, which then could be used for export, and other industry.

So that makes it a win, win, situation. Ie; No flooding of the Peace Valley, Surplus power available from established dams, and cheap power generated in key places within the Province to help local industry and farmers prosper. In addition we would have the construction jobs spaced over the Province, and of course the long term jobs available in these areas running the plants for years to come.

The pollution from these plants would be significantly less than the pollution from building four or five LNG plants to export LNG to foreign countries so that they can build plants.

So, why don’t you get on board and push for the type of a solution.??

    Typical righties, can’t defend Crusty Clark government’s pigs at the trough actions so they point their bony fingers at the NDP, even though the NDP hasn’t been in power for over 16 years. A weak, pathetic, and completely inadequate response.

    ht tps://pbs.twimg.com/media/ClcpzG8VEAALcAy.jpg

      JGalt. Wake up and smell the roses. My point is that Site C is a Liberal Provincial Government project, and any and all contracts would go to those that have the wherewithal to provide the services that a contract calls for.

      What do you think the chances are for an NDP supporter to get a Liberal Government Contract|??

      ……aaaaaaand still no list!

      Come on JGalt, I’d like a list, naming names of all of those that are being “paid off” and all of those that are doing the “paying off”!

      You must have a list, right?

      Or are you just blowing smoke out of your butt?

I suppose the NDP could get that list of friends and contributors benefiting from Site C contracts though an Access to Information Act request… but what are the chances that information has probably been triple deleted by now?

    Dix forged the documents to hide the dipper corruption before they were submitted:)

    So you are making statements and claims that our Premier Christy Clark is paying off people (her supporters and party contributors) and you are making claims that people (her supporters and party contributors) are accepting payoffs!

    You are making these libelous and defamatory claims without providing any factual evidence?

    Hmmmm, that’s pretty gutsy of you!

    That sound you hear (knock,knock,knock) is the process server trying to serve you!

Gas plant per unit of power is more expensive than Hydro. That is why anyewhere with predominantly hydro has the cheapist rates. As for Jones, site c will take at least 8 years employing hundreds and thousands.

With the nut cases in Alberta, California, Oregon tying to go renewables the liberals see great opportunity to supply power when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine. Oh the nut cases generally don’t consider hydro renewable.

Palopu maybe you well off enough not to care about high energy prices but be assured many do care.

    How fortunate we are to live in a province that has had the foresight to create an energy supply grid that has left us in a position where we are highly unlikely to ever suffer from electrical brownouts!

    One can just imagine the outrage if we were ever to be in such a position where we had to restrict our electrical use, either as a result of a brownout or even perhaps as a result of astronomical electricity rates such as those creating havoc for the poor and elderly in left-wing Ontario!

      Also England, California, parts of Australia.

This article does not say the people of BC benefit from this project.
It is extremely important to fight the development of the Site C Dam. It will destroy a lot of forest land that is good for carbon capture and it will be used to frack for gas that will increase carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. The burning of the gas will further increase GHG’s. This is not a green development.

Do you not know man’s contribution to C02 is only 3 to 4 %, it is greening the earth, plant fertilizer. Not one dire prediction has come true. Also as previously pointed out there is no proven virifiable science showing if mans contribution has any effect on climate. The only thing virifable is the rape of your wallet and the endless dogma from a failed education system.

Anyone care to refute me?

    The combustion of fossil fuels does not only cause CO2. It pollutes the atmosphere and causes illnesses when the ambient air is being inhaled.

    I do not mind to engage in refutation by discussion, but I will never waste my time and effort on those who cherry pick their crucial points and refuse to include facts which are proven and verifiable just because that would weaken their own position.

Okay then you show me the proven verifiable facts, oh wait you can’t. Like I said keep track of your wallet.

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