When is a losing bidder, NOT a losing bidder? When it involves bidding on a Ministry of Transportation project!
Without a doubt, it’s when the losing bidders have bid on a Ministry of transportation project with the BC Liberals!
It came as a shock to me, anyways, when I recently read in the South Fraser Perimeter Road Request for Qualifications, that the losing proponents( bidders) would still be receiving so-called ” Stipends” to the tune of $1. 5 million dollars each. My God, I thought, I’m clearly in the wrong line of business, if even a losing bid could be so lucrative! MLA Guy Gentner agreed wholeheartedly with me when I recently talked about just this topic on his radio show ” Live from the Leg”
Now, one must remember that submitting any bid to the province and the MOT is a risk venture at best, because the MOT makes all the rules, and often changes or breaks them as the bidding process goes along. The right and ability to do this, often with no notification to the bidders, is clearly written into the wording of the most recent large projects, and to be honest, reading some of these Request for Proposals makes it seem like the bidding process is as safe as jumping into a pit of cobra’s who’ve been tortured for a while already. But still, big business is never without risk, and in many other private sector industries there is no such thing as a consolation cheque for not getting the job.
So why is the Ministry of Transportation still handing out such lucrative stipends to these losing bidders? That is a question for Shirley Bond, I would say.
The Province will pay a $1.5 million stipend ( the Stipend) to each proponent that is not selected as the Preferred Proponent…
And let us not forget the most recent announcement concerning the South Fraser Perimeter Road preferred proponent ( bidder) – each of the losing bidders there also receive a lovely cheque in the amount of $1.5 million each, just for losing… http://www.partnershipsbc.ca/pdf/SFPR_RFQ_072908.pdf Page 16/62, Section 2.3 :
…a Stipend in the amount of $1,500,000.00 will be paid to each Proponent that is not selected as the Preferred Proponent…
But the award for the largest consolation prize in the history of BC bids that I am aware of has to be given to the RAV line losing bidders, each of whom received … are you ready for this? $ 4 million each.
You read that right, $ 4 million dollars for NOT making the cut : http://www.ravprapidtransit.com/files/uploads/docs/doc173.pdf Page 42/96. section 12.5 :
RAVCO upon Closing will pay an honorarium to the unsuccessful BAFO Proponent covering a significant portion of its costs up to $4 million
You can do the math, these amounts add up in to a massive sum of money when you consider this is the way it’s done on most large projects initiated by the provincial government. And while I’ve only started to crack the surface of the muck that covers every surface of the MOT, it leads me to wonder if these kind of consolatory offerings are the norm for losing bidders in other ministry projects and contracts! I highly suspect it is.
It’s hard to imagine that in these tough economic times, that these kind of top dollar “Stipends” are still being handed out, especially in light of the massive cuts the government have ordering in various other sectors, such as health care, education and special needs. There is no justification for it, no matter what angle I look at.
I’ll let you be the judge of whether these cheques are fair or not, but to me, this is a clear-cut case of typical BC Liberal extravagance – perhaps even Liberal callousness, at worst, when one looks at the many children, elderly and handicapped going without needed diagnosis, treatment and care all over the province.
What do you think?
( now scroll down to why I think the Basi-Virk trial is just the tip of the iceberg…)