Timber company claims $698K owed for work on West Kelowna city hall project

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West Kelowna’s new city hall months behind schedule
WATCH: The new city hall building in West Kelowna that's been years in the making is facing further delays, due to a number of issues. As Jayden Wasney reports, the delays are driving up the final price tag of the project by as much as 24 per cent. – Nov 16, 2023

A timber company working on the overdue and over-budget West Kelowna city hall project has filed a civil suit, claiming they’re owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Seagate Mass Timber, a company that procures, prefabricates and installs mass timber, filed the notice of civil claim Friday, saying Stuart Olson Construction Ltd. failed to pay it for work done on the City of West Kelowna project.

It’s seeking payment from Stuart Olson and has claimed a builders lien of that amount from the city hall project.

In a description of how the shortfall transpired, Seagate explains that Stuart Olson Construction entered a stipulated price contract with the city on Aug. 4, 2021, for the construction of city hall.

On Jan. 17, 2022, Seagate then entered into a contract with Stuart Olson for the supply of labour, materials and equipment related to the work that needed to be done.

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Before any changes in the work, the subcontract had a total value of $430,150.00, including taxes. According to the claim, the company requested the subcontract be certified, but didn’t get a response.

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West Kelowna’s new city hall site selected

Seagate claims it provided the work “without delay and in a good and workmanlike manner,” however, Seagate claims Stuart Olson has refused or neglected to make payment for the work performed.

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There were four invoices submitted, no payments made and, in the end, it claims the outstanding debt is $697,979.01.

In turn, Seagate has collectively claimed a lien against title to the land for the sum of $697,979.01 for both the first lien and the second lien.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been argued in court.

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Stuart Olson Construction and the City of West Kelowna have 21 days from the date the lawsuit was filed to file their responses in court.

Global News has reached out to Stuart Olson Construction.

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West Kelowna residents react to new city hall

In a report to council, the city’s chief administrative officer, Paul Gipps, said everything from poor land and air quality to varying issues with trades involved raised the price of the city hall project to $22.4 million, a 24 per cent increase from the $18 million projected in 2021.

“Some of the main issues encountered over the course of construction have been cost escalations from the pre-construction budget. This was exasperated (sic) by trades not holding or locking in pricing at the time of tender,” Gipps said.

“This was an unprecedented practice caused by the volatility of the market.”

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Gipps also wrote that BC Hydro design and construction delays have been one of the “biggest risks to the schedule and cost of the project.”

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