Construction work in Hay River in 2018. Brad Mapes/Facebook
As the GNWT made a big change to infrastructure planning this week, one message was loud and clear: more northern construction companies would be great.
The NWT government is cutting back on the number of big projects it commits to building each year, largely because it cannot find the workers to get everything done.
In recent years, up to 45 percent of the annual construction spend planned by the GNWT has had to be pushed to future years.
The territory’s solution is to stop promising as much.
But if you’re feeling ambitious, the obvious other message is: we could really use more people in northern construction, and contracts worth tens of millions of dollars are going to be pushed into the future because nobody is available to take the money now.
The boom taking place in many provincial economies isn’t helping the territory to get things built.
“In high construction periods, we draw on southern contractors more often,” said Terence Courtoreille, deputy secretary to the GNWT’s financial management board, which controls the way the territory’s finances are handled.
“When economies in the south are booming, the appetite for contractors to come north and work just isn’t there,” Courtoreille continued.
“We’re not seeing a whole lot of southern contractors wanting to work in the North.”