Carpenter Ken Weber hired two workers and spent a week and a half putting a new roof on the Queen Charlotte legion. But the legion folded two days after he submitted his invoice, and now he’s been told that he won’t get a cent until the building is sold.
Mr. Weber said he completed the work in early April, after the legion executive accepted his quote and gave him the go-ahead to do the job. He sent his bill for $7,800 to the legion April 15. But on April 17, the legion board met and decided to close because they didn’t have enough money to keep operating.
Mr. Weber said he usually asks to be paid up-front for a portion of the work, but because the legion had a Gwaii Trust grant for the roof, he never had any doubt he would be paid promptly.
“It’s harsh,” he said. “We worked some really long days on it… I could have done other work in that time.”
Mr. Weber said he has partially paid his two assistants for the job, but can’t afford to pay them in full until the legion pays him the $7,800 it owes. And right now, he has no idea when that will be.
“Nobody wants to give me any real answers,” he said. He has been in touch with the BC Yukon Legion Command office which took over the Queen Charlotte branch, but they told him he won’t be paid until the building is sold.
Gwaii Trust administrator Tanu Lusignan said the board approved a grant of $66,911 to the Queen Charlotte legion last year for renovations, and has already paid out $12,000, which went to the Prince Rupert supplier that sold the roofing material.
Mr. Lusignan said the board has not actually “decommitted” the funds at this point, but directors have discussed the issue and will not be paying out a grant to a group which has dissolved and is in the process of selling its building, like the legion.
“I feel bad, it’s too bad,” Mr. Lusignan said about Mr. Weber’s situation. “But really, I see that as an obligation between the legion and him.”
At the BC-Yukon Legion Command office in Vancouver, secretary Linda Sawyer confirmed that Mr. Weber will be not be paid until the building is sold.
“We’re hoping to be able to pay off the debt but we have to liquidate the assets,” she said. “It’s going to be a slow process.”
She said she expects to reach an agreement with a real estate agent this week to list and sell the Queen Charlotte property. Some islanders had expressed interest in buying it, but their offers turned out not to be serious, she added.
Mr. Weber’s bill is not the only one. The legion owes money to other locals and also owes the government for GST, Ms Sawyer said. The GST bill must be paid before any others.
Ms Sawyer said the legion is currently selling the furniture and other items inside the building. Money received for these is placed in the branch account and immediately seized by government, she said.
The money raised by selling the property should be more than enough to cover all the branch’s debts, she said. Any extra money will go to the Command Care Trust Fund, which spends its interest to support geriatric programs, and the Branch Assistance Fund, which gives loans to struggling branches.
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