First Nation businesses given more time to work on strategy for tar ponds projects
By Tanya Collier Macdonald
Cape Breton Post
Mon., Apr. 16, 2007
SYDNEY - More time is needed to
finalize a favourable procurement
strategy for First Nation businesses
vying for lucrative tar ponds contracts.
Since 2004, Cape Breton’s aboriginal
communities have met monthly
with federal and provincial partners
to develop an aboriginal set aside
procurement strategy for a suitable
chunk of work expected from the
$400-million project. That strategy
was supposed to be ready by March
In a bid "to do it right," that deadline
was recently extended to the end
of the year, said Ken Swain, project
director at Public Works and Government
"We’ve been learning a lot about
the best way to ensure that there is
meaningful economic participation
of First Nations in the project and we
just want to make sure the strategy
positions ourselves to accomplish
that," he said. "We want to make sure
that when we identify elements of
the project, that can potentially be
set aside, that First Nation businesses
particularly in Cape Breton, have
the capacity to supply the goods and
services related to the activity."
A protocol agreement signed in
October 2005 allowed one preventative
work project to be allocated
solely to aboriginal businesses — a
first for the Nova Scotia government.
However, recommendations made
by a joint review panel in 2006
stopped the tendering process
before the contract was awarded.
The tender was revised and work is
expected to begin this construction
Along with a solid procurement
strategy, Swain said government
would also like to develop a way to
measure the initiative’s success.
"That’s requiring some input from
First Nation communities.
Some other areas that could be
assessed is whether or not businesses
in First Nations communities
improved because of their participation
in the work.