The union representing shipyard workers is questioning why TransLink did not apply for $2 million in federal funding that might have allowed it to build the replacement SeaBus in B.C.

Unions leaders say it would have been cheaper to have a local company build a replacement SeaBus if TransLink had applied for the federal financing.

B.C. labour unions were unhappy when a $25-million contract was awarded to Dutch shipbuilder last December.

But George MacPherson, president of the Shipyard Workers Federation, says the unions were even more upset when they found out Translink didn’t apply for federal funding that he says could have cut costs and keep the contract local.

"We believe this vessel should be built here," he said.

"It’s going to operate here, our bid is competitive, and we don’t think Translink did their due diligence with the tender process. We think they just missed the mark."

TransLink has stood by its decision, saying that three bids were received through a rigorous process that evaluated criteria like shipyard experience, cost and quality of construction.

Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards was eventually given the contract to build the replacement SeaBus, which takes commuters between downtown Vancouver and the North Shore. Construction of the vessel will be carried out in Singapore.

The first three SeaBus vessels were built in Vancouver and Victoria.

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