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Kugluktuk contractor outraged with hamlet

Kugluktuk businessman Grant Newman, owner of Kikiak Contracting, is outraged with the hamlet's decision to hire a contractor from Alberta.

The hamlet has decided to hire the contractor from the south to repair the floor of the six bay parking garage, work on the old and new crisis shelter and work on the water and sewer issues.

Newman started his business 21 years ago and has done many jobs for Kugluktuk.

Grant Newman, owner of Kikiak Contracting, is disappointed that southern contractors were hired for work in the hamlet during Covid.
photo courtesy of Grant Newman.

"Hamlet maintenance staff are capable of doing this work and my company was not given a chance to bid or give a price on this work," said Newman.

"I do have employees that are off of work due to the Covid pandemic but I could've put some people back to work. Small businesses have invested millions of dollars into the community and are having enough trouble surviving this pandemic. They put the community at risk by bringing people in from the south is my most concern. Even if they did quarantine in Yellowknife it is still pretty risky and expensive too.”

Since making his life in Kugluktuk, Newman has served as a council member for 15 years which he took pride in as a community member.

"It seems that my own tax dollars are competing against me," Newman said.

"It should have been offered to the small businesses first, but this again is about putting the community at risk, you all need to give your head a shake and get your priorities in order."

Newman said he would fight for the small business community and that he was contacting the hamlet office.

Ron Ladd, senior administrative officer for the hamlet of Kugluktuk, said the southern contractors were hired for work that local contractors could not complete.

"It was the decision of the council and a unanimous vote to hire contractors from Alberta to do the work of the water and sewer system as there was no certified plumbers and electricians in the community that was qualified to do such an important job as potable water for the community (which) is an important essential service," Ladd said.

"The people hired to do the contract were quarantined before travelling up North. Tenders were put out for biding but it was unfortunate that Newman was not able to put in a bid as he had prior personal engagements. Although Mr. Newman has been running his business for 20-plus years, contracts still need to be bid on as the Hamlet has a limited budget."

The hamlet council held a meeting on April 14 in which Newman was invited to attend as a delegate. He presented his case and left.

"We left this on a positive note and agreed to disagree, Newman has since put in a bid for one of the contracts with the hamlet," said Ladd.