Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) Minister Katrina Nokleby says the GNWT is still committed to building a new fish plant in Hay River.
“We remain committed to the (Great Slave Lake commercial fishery) revitalization initiative, and we want to move forward as quickly as possible with the fish plant,” Nokleby said in the Legislative Assembly on Dec. 11.
However, she said ITI will take the time required to consider various options.
Nokleby was responding to questions from Hay River South MLA Rocky Simpson about the cancellation in September of a tender to build a new fish plant.
Simpson asked Nokleby to confirm that the tender had been cancelled because the bids were considerably over budget.
“The bids that were received for the construction of the new fish plant in Hay River were significantly higher than anticipated,” the minister said.
According to information on the GNWT website, Arctic Canada Construction Ltd. submitted a bid of $14.1 million, while Clark Builders bid $14.5 million.
Nokleby said ITI is exploring options to bring the project budget down.
“One of the areas where we think that we may have some room to make changes is in the proposed fish processing lines and equipment requirements, and the impacts that they will have on the building,” she said.
In January of 2019, the federal government and the GNWT announced joint funding of $8.9 million to build a new fish plant.
Simpson asked the minister if the project will soon be retendered or sent out for requests for proposals.
“Our first step will be to get some better understanding of why the bids were so high,” Nokleby replied. “Ideally, we will find a way to move the project ahead within the budget that we have, but this will take some time.”
The minister said there is not yet a timeline on efforts to get the fish plant built.
“While we consider next steps for the plant, we are also moving ahead with other elements of the overall revitalization strategy,” Nokleby said, noting that will include a fisheries support officer to work out of Hay River.