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Wood centre bid process altered

The B.C. government has pulled a controversial requirement from the bidding process for a planned Wood Innovation Centre in Prince George.


December 18, 2012
By John Tenpenny

First promised by the B.C. Liberal government in the 2009 throne speech, the Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) has been trumpeted as a way for the province to showcase its wood building products and techniques.

It is meant to house wood-related research facilities and classes with the University of Northern British Columbia, as well as office space for industry and potentially provincial use.

Over more than a year, government has narrowed the bidding process to three possible candidates, and had planned to select the final proponent in early January.

But, according to The Vancouver Sun, it had to suspend the bidding process recently and conduct an internal review after the remaining bidders complained about a significant requirement in the bid.

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At issue was a requirement that the winning bidder of the provincially funded $25-million contract also work with the private sector to develop and build another project on adjacent land.

Bid documents show the government ideally wanted the second building to be at least 4,500 square metres, and that it had to be independently financed. Bidders would get most credit in the proposal if the second building was “consistent with WIDC proposal with regards to value-added wood products.”

On Friday, deputy minister of jobs, tourism and skills training Dave Byng said the government has removed the private-sector requirement and restarted the bid process.

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