WHITEHORSE – The Liberal government has created unnecessary delays in the Whistle Bend School project after issuing a tender before consulting with key stakeholders. As a result, the tender was cancelled only 24 hours after being issued.
Questions and concerns have been raised as to why the tender was allowed to go out at all, as the Liberals appear to have forgotten to consult with key stakeholders such as the City of Whitehorse or local First Nation governments, a commitment that was made by the Minister earlier this year. Other key stakeholders that were left out before the tender was issued include the Whistle Bend Community Association and Whistle Bend School Project Committee, a group that the Minister created for this specific purpose.
“Once again we see this Liberal government drop the ball on a major infrastructure project, forgetting to consult the very group they specifically created to provide insight into the design of the school,” stated Scott Kent, Official Opposition Critic for Education. “Unfortunately this mistake will create delays. It is clear that the Liberals like the photo-ops that come with project announcements, but forget that governing doesn’t stop with the press release.”
The details that were included in the now-cancelled tender also suggest that the government has already made key decisions about the size and what is included in the school before they even consulted with anyone. This calls into question the legitimacy and sincerity of any consultation on this project going forward.
Earlier this year, the Yukon Party Official Opposition urged the government to create an elected school council prior to the development of the school to ensure the voice of the community would be heard and included in its planning and design.
“Proactively creating a school council would add significant value in determining the needs of this school and how it will best serve the students and families of Whistle Bend and the surrounding areas,” added Kent. “Considering the situation the Liberals have created by failing to consult before going ahead with the tender, creating a school council now seems necessary to ensure this delayed project runs smoothly going forward.”