Plans to renovate Coral Harbour’s Sakku School have been put on hold due to the price being too high from the lone bidder on the project.

Patterk Netser, MLA for Aivilik, raised the issue in the legislative assembly on May 27 when he asked the education minister for an update on the project.

“We were just informed today that the contract was cancelled, and I wonder what the reasoning for that cancellation is. We were highly anticipating the commencement of the construction to our school, so we would like to know what the reasons are for the cancellation,” Netser said.

Education Minister David Joanasie told MLAs that the tender for the project was cancelled because it was over budget.

Joanasie said the tender was made public in March and it closed on April 13, at which point there was only a single bidder. The government decided not to award the contract because the bidder’s quote was more than double the government’s allocated budget, he said.

“We set aside $27 million for these improvements for the Sakku School. However, the sole bidder submitted a tender proposal over $55 million for improvements listed for that particular school.”

Construction was originally scheduled to begin after the first 2021 sealift in the community. Joanasie said the government will now consider alternative options to get the work completed.

“We have not given up on these proposed improvements to the Sakku School, as these improvements are required, but we need to be innovative to determine how best to move forward with our plans,” Joanasie said.

According to the Department of Community and Government Services, the scope of the project included major life-cycle renovations to the school as well as the addition of approximately 14,600 square-feet of new floor area, and the partial demolition of the existing structure.

Following the cancellation, Netser asked Joanasie whether the government plans to renovate the existing school or build a new one.

“I went to that school when I was young and there is an urgent need to do something about improving the school. Can the minister agree to that?” Netser asked.

Joanasie would not commit to a solution. He said he would arrange a meeting with the district education authority to find a way to move forward with the project for the kindergarten to Grade 12 educational facility.

“I agree to hold a meeting with the district education authority and the hamlet council so that we can give them an update about the plans for the future.”

The Coral Harbour District Education Authority could not be reached for comment by press time.

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