Contractor goes under in Seaforth dispute
Constructions workers picket in front of the Seaforth Armoury in Vancouver, B.C. on Tuesday November 12, 2013. Sub-contractors say they haven't been paid for work done to a major government project due to a squabble between two major companies in charge of the project. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)
One company has gone under and others haven’t been paid for construction-related work done to the Seaforth Armoury in Vancouver as a pay dispute drags on.
The military armoury — at the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge — is undergoing a $40-million renovation, and in November workers walked off the job, claiming they hadn’t been paid by subcontractor Bulldog Demolition.
At the time, Bulldog said Carillion Pacific — the main contractor on the job — hadn’t paid it and they would have to access their money through a construction bond after a three-month waiting period.
But six months later, Denny Klein of Inklein Construction said he hasn’t seen a dime and when wages, lost work on other projects and costs are added up, he’s on the hook for $1.2 million.
“My money — not even my tax money — has now funded a $40-million government project,” Klein said. “Because it’s a federal project we can’t lien the project. They can run the money and the funds until the job’s done.”
He said he knows one contractor who has since gone out of business waiting for their payment, and thinks the plan is to see how many other companies owed money also collapse.
Klein said he found out the bond is held by Chartis Insurance and Carillion — the principle of the project to which the main contract was awarded by the government — has been given authority to investigate claims on it.
Jim Caya of Bulldog said he gave the bond information to those waiting for payment, but said he hadn’t heard if Carillion was in charge of the investigation.
“It’s all news to me, I know nothing about it,” Caya said, adding he hasn’t been paid either. “Until someone wants to sue us or do anything to us we’re a non-participant at this time.”
But in the past Carillion has insisted it paid Bulldog, alleging in turn it did not pay its subcontractors.
The issue was brought up in the House of Commons last year, but Klein said he hasn’t heard anything from Ottawa except being told to access the bond.
He said promises of helping the small contractors fell short.
“That was all just political to get everybody off their back,” said Klein. “A bunch of bull**** as far as I’m concerned.”
Carillion did not return calls for comment by press time.