No justifications for asphalt purchases 

Municipal CAO explains the more than decade-long relationship with Alpine Paving

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There are no Sole Source Justification Reports to explain why Whistler only bought its asphalt from Alpine Paving over the years.

The reports, which must be written when there is only one source and the municipality is buying something over $25,000, are part of the current procurement policy at the hall.

In a recent sit-down interview with Pique , Whistler's Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Bill Barratt explained why the reports don't exist.

"No, because the council were aware we were using Alpine," said Barratt. "Everyone uses Alpine... They knew they were the only source."

This week Pique's Freedom of Information Request for some of the Sole Source Justification Reports came back as: "There are no records responsive to your request."

When asked about due process, and not following policy as outlined in the Procurement document which has been in place for the last five years, Barratt said:

"Why waste our time doing that when the price is negotiated and it's not that out of line with the year before and the year before?"

Now Barratt wants to set the record straight on how the municipality bought its asphalt every year.

It's a subject that has pitted council members against each other and added an unprecedented level of scrutiny at municipal hall, given that Whistler's newest neighbourhood was built just a stone's throw away from the asphalt plant.

Up until two years ago, few people in Whistler knew there was a plant operating beside the town dump, churning out asphalt and keeping Whistler's roads up to snuff both for the municipality and private contractors.

Barratt said it's "shallow thinking" to say Whistler could have saved money on asphalt by going out to a competitive bidding process or tendering the contracts over the years.

Barratt, who is at the tail end of a 30 plus year career at municipal hall, took aim at the critics in the community who have been pointing the finger at municipal hall in dealing with Alpine Paving as its only source for asphalt for more than a decade.

To truck asphalt up the highway, particularly before the upgrades were done, could not only compromise the quality of the product but also drive up costs.

"There was no way you were going to get multiple bids or any bids out of Vancouver...," said Barratt.

"To suggest that going out to tender you'd somehow get something else all those years... From where? Nobody would provide it.

"Going back in the past and rewriting history as if that's fact is just a waste of time because it has no basis on reality."

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