Waste treatment work backs up
Village of Fort Simpson seeking arbitration

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Mar 10/00) - Village council voiced serious concerns at Monday's council meeting as work on the highly-touted sewage treatment plant was expected to grind to a halt on Tuesday morning.

It seems the general contractor and technology supplier are no longer on good terms. But as it turned out, work continued despite the fact that Calgary-based technology supplier Foothills Industries has allegedly put a lien on the sewage treatment plant, which is only 10 days away from being operational, Mayor Norm Prevost reported Tuesday morning.

"He (Foothills Industries president Vern Gattinger) said he'll continue to work even though they have a lien on the project," Prevost said, adding that he had not seen any official lien document as of Tuesday morning. "Their intent is not to stop work."

With a motion before council on Monday to grant a project extension to March 31, Coun. Ron McCagg suggested the motion be defeated and, instead, the village should pursue binding arbitration with general contractor Camillus Engineering Consultants Ltd. of Yellowknife. That motion was later passed.

McCagg said he's become aware of a "fair number of problems" at the sewage treatment plant and added that the working relationship at the site has deteriorated badly.

The village has paid in excess of $1.8 million on the project to date. There is $250,000 left to be paid out, but none of it will move, if and when the lien papers arrive, until the whole issue is straightened out, according to Prevost.

"It can still carry on with the same general contractor if he makes amends and gets things going, I guess," he said. "We're just looking out for our local (employees) as well, and keeping track of what's going on."

The original completion date for the sewage treatment plant was Dec. 23. It had been extended to Feb. 29.