The new Alberni District Secondary School will open in September despite a contractor ceasing work and slapping a lien against the property, School District 70 Secretary Treasurer Jerry Linning said.
Pye Construction owner Wayne Pye confirmed Tuesday that he pulled his machinery and men from the site. The 30-year-old firm was responsible for forming and concrete work at the new $60 million high school.
There was still work to be completed “but we were 99 per cent done,” Pye said.
Pye has taken out a lien against the title of the school property for non-payment of work from Yellowridge Construction, the project’s main contractor. “After today it (lien) will be in the amount of $350,000,” Pye said.
SD 70 pays Yellowridge — the new ADSS main building contractor — progress payments, and it in turn pays the site’s sub-contractors.
At its peak Pye said he had more than 50 men working on the site. All have been paid but Pye has been left holding the tab.
According to Pye, he’s not been paid since November and is owed $350,000. His last contact with Yellowridge was an e-mail from them two weeks ago.
“They claim there was an issue with late completion of work but the work was completed,” Pye said. “They control the schedule, not me.”
SD 70 secretary treasurer Jerry Linning confirmed the development after the school board meeting on Tuesday night.
“From what I understand this is the case although I don’t know the exact details,” he said. “The issue is between Yellowridge (Construction) and the sub-contractor.”
According to Linning, the school district is required to withhold the lien amount from progress payments to Yellowridge until the matter between it and Pye is resolved.
When asked if the development will impact construction of the school or the September opening day, Linning replied “No”.
Yellowridge officials didn’t return phone calls.
Pye is the second contractor to have payment issues with Yellowridge.
In 2010, local contractor Ted Walton’s company was hired by Yellowridge to remove 36,775 cubic metres of fill and bring in 13,800 cubic metres of rock. Walton subsequently removed 100,000 cubic metres more fill than his contract called for, he said.
Yellowridge paid $1.8 million to Walton, who said he was owed at least $1 million more for excess fill removal.