Manitoba Hydro is spending $70 million on housing for a temporary camp for workers near Gillam, where crews will be working on the Bipole III project, says a report by CTV Winnipeg.
Hydro said Bouctouche, New Brunswick-based Kent Homes submitted the cheapest and best bid, even though it will require shipping items from out of province to Manitoba.
“I think it’s very unfortunate that someone could do it cheaper in New Brunswick – ship it – considering the prices of fuel today, and they can still do it cheaper than anyone in Manitoba. I don’t believe that,” said Ron Schuler, PC Hydro critic said in the CTV report.
Hydro said that despite the travel costs, of the three bids submitted, the New Brunswick firm was the cheapest and that no Manitoba firms could handle the scope of the project.
“There is not a Manitoba supplier for it in terms of the volume that we need. There are certainly modular home builders in Manitoba, but not for the size of camp that we need,” Hydro spokesperson Glenn Schneider is quoted as saying.
Hydro said it needs a place to house up to 600 workers over the next five years near Gillam in order to construct Bipole III. The camp will be the size of two football fields.
Kent Homes will build the 100 dorm rooms and dining and recreation facilities.
“Each module gets manufactured at our facility, complete with electrical, all the furnishings,” said David Saucy from Kent Homes. “Basically, everything is ready to go.”
Sections of the homes and other buildings will have to be shipped to Manitoba starting this summer and then assembled in the province.
The camp is expected to open in September and then grow from there.
Some modular homebuilders in Manitoba who spoke to CTV News Thursday said they don’t build similar types of homes, or it is outside of their scope. A couple others, however, said they do think there is a problem with the tendering process and they said they could supply homes for a project this size.