Local arena contractors go unpaid

Local contractors who helped build the new Smithers arena have not all been paid.

Hockey season is over at the new Smithers arena, but a local contractor has shot a hard-hitting accusation he was not paid for his work on the $4.8 million structure.

Timber Peak Construction owner Rob Trampuh said he is unable to pay some of the local companies he hired because main contractor C&M Development Inc. still owes him $550,000.

Trampuh said he had rece ived about $1 million so far of what was owed. The 10 per cent holdback, what C&M holds onto until the work is confirmed to be completed properly, is only part of what Trampuh said he is waiting for. He said he has been paid up to September of 2014.

I have not received payment since then,” said Trumpuh, adding that he is pursuing legal options.

Everybody’s irate because I’m owed $550,000 and I can’t pay because C&M has not paid.”

Chris Erb leads the Nanaimo-based company. He tells a much different story.

I’ve paid the contractor that I hired, which is Rob Trampuh,” said Erb, adding the payment was made soon after the arena was built.

I’ve been fielding a number of calls, and basically I paid him a long time ago,” said Erb, who laughed when asked by The Interior News if he owed half a million dollars.

He’s been paid in full.”

Trampuh said hiring companies from out of town can hurt local companies.

They’re dealing with out of town companies that come into town that play into margins, hold onto money until we go crazy, and then we have to put money into legal fees,” said Trampuh.

They squeeze the little guys, and in this case it’s all the subcontractors in Smithers.”

If the town were to use local contractors and strictly local contractors, we have to work with each other. And the town just put two more bids out, one at the airport and one at the firehall, which they have to, to make it public, but why do we have to use out of town contractors?”

Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach said C&M was one of two bidders for the project, the other being from Kelowna.

On balance, council felt (C&M) had the best proposal. We didn’t receive any purely local proposals,” said Bachrach, adding both proposals planned to hire local subcontractors.

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