Taxpayers in Regina wouldn’t be the slightest bit sur-prised
to see steady road construction activity in their
city during the summer months. Orange signs and ac-companying
pylons, asphalt machinery and paving crews are famil-iar
sights on several streets.
But what taxpayers don’t see are the prices associated with each
individual project the City of Regina takes on. Private contractors,
too, aren’t privy to the costs associated with these road mainte-nance
There’s growing concern that taxpayers’ dollars aren’t being
stretched as best as they could when it comes to road construction
projects in Regina. That’s because any interested private contrac-tors
are frozen out of the bidding on tenders.
“What we’re finding is that the city is self-performing more
and more of their own infrastructure projects,” said Saskatchewan
Heavy Construction Association (SHCA) president, Shantel Lipp.
“We do see what projects will be put out in the upcoming year, but
nothing is guaranteed for our members.”
This practice not only impacts private contractors who are hun-gry
for more work, but it carries a major risk to the city’s taxpayers.
Eliminating private companies from bidding on roadwork ne-gates
competitive pricing and efficiencies on the work. It’s unknown
whether the city is getting the best bang for its buck, and with those
bucks coming from the taxpayers, it raises a red flag in competitive
“The way I’m making sure I’m getting the best possible value is
that I get a few quotes and then pick the one that will deliver the
best quality for the lowest price,” said Todd MacKay with
the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation. “If you’re not
getting competitive bids, it’s pretty tough to tell wheth-er
you’re getting a good deal.”
MacKay says that the City of Regina needs to carefully make
its case as to why it doesn’t open the bidding on tenders to the pri-vate
sector. He said the default value should always be to get a com-petition
going because that’s how you get the best value for the
Standards vary considerably between the public and private sec-tor,
and Lipp questions whether there would be any incentive for
city crews to meet the same standards as private contractors.
The private sector is engaged in competition with one another
when it comes to pricing, efficiency and quality of work. Those who
emerge in the public eye often enjoy a smoother road to success.
More successful bids result in steady employment, and guaranteed
work is a major factor when companies are trying to attract season-al
ELNUR / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
thinkbigmagazine.ca | Quarter 4 2017 | Think BIG 31