- When developments like Renaissance and Skye went into receivership two years ago, they left in their wake unpaid local contractors like Pelling.
- The liens he and other contractors filed have proved to be ineffective because the banks get priority over any money in a court-ordered sale.
By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 4, 2013
Darren Pelling has hope in life, but not in the possibility of receiving any money back from two of the biggest development that went belly up in Squamish few years ago.
He has slowly come to terms with the fact that he won’t be paid for the work he did as a contractor for Renaissance Retirement Residence and as a sub-contractor for Coastal Village homes.
“They both owed me $930,000, but I didn’t see any money,” says Darren Pelling, the owner of Alpine Pacific Group Construction.
Pelling himself owed $100,000 to other subcontractors, who were also not paid.
“At the end of the day, no trades ever got any money.” Darren Pelling
“We had nowhere to go,” he said.
When developments like Renaissance and Skye went into receivership two years ago, they left in their wake local contractors like Pelling with thousands of dollars in unpaid bills.
Pelling says he lost everything.
“We just sold any equipment we had, and had a garage sale and pretty much walked away,” he said.
“It effectively wiped us out.”
The liens he and other contractors filed have proved to be ineffective because the banks get priority over any money in a court-ordered sale.
With money paid off to the mortgage lenders, little, if any, trickles down to contractors and subcontractors.
“At the end of the day, no trades ever got any money,” Pelling says.
With court ordered sale, the new owners also gets the title unencumbered, which means the money is disbursed by the court in priority of the claim.
That means when money runs out after payment to the bank, the new owner gets the title free, and has no obligation to pay any contractor or subcontractor.
“The little guy that is actually doing the work carries the risk all along,” says Pelling.
It wasn’t supposed to be that way.
In fact, when the construction on both projects started, it was a time of unbridled optimism in Squamish.
It was a roaring economy, the highway was getting build, and there were a lot of big paying, construction jobs.
Then came the market crash, and the downward slide began, and caught up with Squamish developments.
Pelling says both Coastal and Renaissance had been moving money through other projects in California and B.C.
The housing crash in US and the resultant recession impacted both Aqua and Renaissance, and they finally ran ‘out of time and money.’
Pelling is now finally emerging from this ordeal, with the love and support of his family.
“It takes so much from it, you can’t find words for it,” he says.