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City councillor Laura Cabott

Cabott proposes support for business community

City councillor Laura Cabott has introduced a motion aimed at giving more weight to local content for companies bidding on professional service contracts.

By Chuck Tobin on May 27, 2020

City councillor Laura Cabott has introduced a motion aimed at giving more weight to local content for companies bidding on professional service contracts.

Cabott brought forward the notice of motion at Monday’s meeting, though no discussion is allowed when motions are first introduced.

The motion is scheduled to come forward for debate at council’s June 15 meeting.

In introducing her motion Monday, the councillor suggested anything the city could do to support the local business community should be done in these times of such economic uncertainty.

Even if giving more weight for local content saves just one job for a young professonal, or prevents a single layoff, she said, it’s worth pursuing.

Cabott’s motion is directed specifically at requests for proposals that go out for consulting services involving engineering, architectural, planning and such.

It calls for the full 20 points for local content to be applied when weighing all requests for proposals until March 31, 2021, or until council decides otherwise.

Where a written recommendation from city administration is provided to council for which the local content evaluation is fewer than 20 points, says the motion, council shall consider and then either approve the recommendation or confirm the full 20 points.

Cabott told her colleagues everybody knows the measures taken to ensure the health and safety of city residents have already had a negative impact on the business community.

Some businesses have had to close their doors, others have had to lay off workers and some are on the edge of going out of business, she said.

“This motion is but a small measure and one of many I will acknowledge and am proud to say the city has taken to support its citizens.”

During discussions at last week’s meeting, when Cabott told her colleagues she would be bringing forward a motion, the councillor noted the 2011 policy regarding the procurement of professional consulting services does permit council to dictate how much weight is to be given for local content – zero to 20.

Cabott said she was not sure how often council has used its authority to assign the weight to be given for local content, if ever.

City manager Linda Rapp said she would have to research the question, but she could not recall any instances off the top of her head.

Rapp explained department managers generally assign how much weight is to be given to local content on requests for professional services.

For example, Rapp explained, managers may assign a greater value to local content where having local content and knowledge of the local environment would be an important consideration in weighing the proposals received.

In other instances where the city may be seeking leading-edge technology being used by other municipalities, local content may not be weighted as heavily, she said.

Rapp said weight being given to local content is very much dependent on the consulting services being sought.

Administration is, however, open to having the discussion about providing more weight for local content if that’s council’s desire, she told council last week.

While Cabott received support from her colleagues at last week’s meeting to at least have the discussion, there was caution in their voices.

If council chose to assign greater weight for local content, it would have to be at the outset before requests for proposals went out the door, and not after, it was said.

There was a question about whether the Yukon government is introducing similar measures to increase preference for local content.

Cabott told her colleagues last week she’s heard from local businesses that are interested in seeing the city do whatever it can to support them.

Rich Thompson, the chair of the Yukon Advisory council and the CEO of Northern Vision Development, has stated publicly these uncertain economic times require swift action, she said.

Cabott said the city is looking at an economic blood bath.

The councillor said she understands local content would not be appropriate where tenders are price-driven.

Nor does she understand whether assigning greater weight for local content for professional services would affect pricing, she said.

But the councillor insisted any measures the city could take to support the business community should be taken.

Comments (10)

Up 15 Down 2

Interested Observer on May 29, 2020 at 2:20 pm

You’re going to have to do better than that for covid relief of Whitehorse businesses - red tape reduction, business license relief, and allowing businesses to open.

Up 9 Down 11

JC on May 28, 2020 at 5:15 pm

bnr. I would rather have a cure for Covid19 than a vaccine. Since Bill Gates is trying to create vaccine with a computer chip I will not trust any vaccines from now on. Gates is very rich and very powerful. He will find a way to put his chip in any vaccine without anybody knowing. Money pays for a lot of loyalty. I'll take the cure thank you.

Up 10 Down 1

stephen on May 28, 2020 at 1:46 pm

This is a common sense idea and will work as long as the Yukon is not part of any of the provincial trade agreements or international ones which DO NOT allow this to be added to any RFx. I have worked for 22 yrs in SCM and I can tell you we would love to have that back in there, but the Feds and Provincial governments have signed agreements that removed our ability to include this. The minute a RFx hits the streets with this in it a holy stink is raised.

So please tell me the Yukon was not stupid enough to sign on to some of these agreements between provinces and signed on to any Fed agreements.
Oh and for you people that are pointing at the Liberals on this, you need to point it at all provincial and federal parties as they allowed this.

Up 8 Down 4

BnR on May 28, 2020 at 11:55 am

Matthews trotting out the old "no one is getting Polio anymore so we really didn't need a vaccine! Haha!" trope.

Up 6 Down 13

Wilf Carter on May 27, 2020 at 10:56 pm

Very well written piece and smart move.

Up 22 Down 2

BnR on May 27, 2020 at 7:06 pm

To be known henceforth as the KZA clause.

Up 24 Down 16

Matthew on May 27, 2020 at 5:54 pm

Is 0 dead from Covid (0 even went to hospital) worth the massive economic meltdown Yukon recieved via the failed predictions from Hanley? Wait till your "new normal" kicks in.. thinking that plexi glass and social distancing will save the world! LOL! Give your heads a shake.

Up 23 Down 2

Jc on May 27, 2020 at 5:28 pm

Good idea. Don't know why it took so long. This should also be done by Territorial and Federal governments. Especially in mining. Too many of our mining industry has been sold out to offshore companies. And Yukoners should have first dibs on all jobs before any outsiders are considered.

Up 27 Down 6

If City Of Whitehorse employees took a pay cut on May 27, 2020 at 4:04 pm

then that money could be used to reduce fees elsewhere in the City. Allowing the public to spend less.

Up 34 Down 5

I have a suggestion on May 27, 2020 at 4:02 pm

How about reduce property tax?
Make the dump free?
Reduce utility fees?
Remove LIC's for future remediation projects?
Instead of finding ways to "help," why not just let people keep whatever little they've earned?

"I have $1.00"
government- "Ok, we'll take 55% of that."
--- economy goes to hell.
government -"Ok, we'll continue to take 55% of that (and in the same breath) if only there was some way we could help people that are struggling?!!"

True or false: COW employees were still paid even if not working during the "crisis"

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