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MHCA to work with Winnipeg on use of recycled concrete; press for free trade

The heavy construction industry will continue pushing back on Saskatchewan’s use of ‘local preference’ clauses in tendering and construction documents, which effectively eliminate the ability of companies from other provinces to competitively bid for work there.

The decision was made at the September 23 meeting of the MHCA Board of Directors. The next steps include working with Western Canada industry associations, as well as pressing the Manitoba government to have discussions with political offices across the West to bring down trade barriers.

Saskatchewan this spring introduced clauses that award points for ‘local knowledge’ from companies bidding on public construction tenders. It has defended the move as a means of ensuring Saskatchewan companies and workers, especially at the local level, benefit from the additional infrastructure investment dollars announced as part of its economic kickstart, to counter the impact of the pandemic business shutdown.

The item was among the MHCA priorities outlined at the Board meeting.

Other items included:

  • It was reported that producers of virgin limestone aggregate used in roadbuilding were meeting the new City of Winnipeg R21 specifications for base and sub-base materials. The producers of recycled concrete aggregates were unable to consistently meet the new specs.
  • Winnipeg council’s Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works Committee has asked the Public Works department to work with the heavy construction industry, the Specifications Review Committee, and U of M Prof. Ahmed Shalaby through 2021 to compile best practices and recommendations, including a cross-jurisdictional analysis, for increased use of recycled concrete aggregate.
  • The Manitoba Municipal Board’s approval of the Lilyfield Quarry application to open a pit in the RM of Rosser indicates the value of the right to appeal a municipality’s rejection of a conditional-use application. The appeal mechanism was included in amendments last year to the provincial Planning Act.
  • MHCA will hold an online Awards Presentation and Annual General Meeting on November 20; members will get further details and be invited to participate in the online events.
  • The Board approved a recommendation of the Events Committee not to proceed with a Chair’s Gala this year; plans for the Gala in 2021 will continue.