The B.C. NDP government is refusing to show how bureaucrats scored and ranked shortlisted bidders for the $2.83 billion Broadway Subway, according to documents obtained under the freedom of information laws.
The June report of the four-person evaluation committee includes a chart, but the evaluation scores and rankings for four bidders were censored to allegedly protect government finances and the companies’ trade secrets.
The committee recommended a shortlist of three: Acciona-Ghella Joint Venture, Broadway Connect (Dragados/Aecon) and West 9th Partners (SNC-Lavalin). Urban Transit (Salini Impreglio/Astaldi) did not make the cut.
The announcement came a month before SNC-Lavalin withdrew its bids among a major reorganization as the company faces a trial on corruption and bribery charges. On Sept. 11, which was, coincidentally, the same day the federal election began, the B.C. government formally announced Urban Transit had replaced SNC-Lavalin on the shortlist. A decision on the preferred bidder is expected by late spring 2020. The 5.7 kilometre SkyTrain extension to Arbutus is expected to be operating by 2025.
Scoring of bidders on major transit projects became a major story in Ottawa, where CBC revealed that SNC-Lavalin failed to reach the technical threshold for a $1.6 billion LRT extension contract. The company got the contract based on its low bid. Ottawa’s city clerk eventually confirmed that SNC-Lavalin scored 67.27%, below the 70% threshold, in the technical evaluation. Competitors were in the mid-80s.
The Trudeau Liberals’ SNC-Lavalin scandal cast a cloud over the Broadway Subway process, but was not enough to keep the company off the shortlist, as proven by a scripted answer in a presentation for Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.
In bold letters, it said: “If asked: Why is SNC-Lavalin shortlisted for major projects in British Columbia given the corruption allegations against the company?”
“All shortlisted respondents were evaluated against the criteria in the publicly available request for qualifications. All respondents declared litigation or other material adverse proceedings that may affect their ability to deliver the project. The evaluation determined that the shortlisted teams were capable of delivering the project.”
The report said the evaluation committee was comprised of PartnershipsBC vice-president David Hubner and PartnershipsBC project director George Kyriakelis, who is a former Kiewit engineer, and the transport ministry’s executive director of major projects finance Dave Stewart and executive project director Lisa Gow.
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