Grande Prairie hospital contractors say they’re owed $60M by province
A local contractor has accused the provincial government of owing them $26 million for work done on the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital.
Schendel Construction has worked on the $760-million project for almost six years.
Last fall, it unsuccessfully bid to work on the hospital again after the Alberta government ended its contract with the project’s manager, Graham Construction.
Schendel Construction says it is owed for three years’ worth of work and materials, costs it covered with loans.
Simone Schendel-Reese, CEO of Schendel Mechanical Contracting, called the situation unlike any other she's ever seen.
“In fact, we have been profitable for 35 out of 37 years and this—this is costing our company,” Schendel-Reese said.
Schendel Construction is one of 26 contractors that worked under Graham that say they are owed a total of $60 million by Alberta.
The government has set aside about $30 million to pay the contractors, who must go to arbitration to get the rest of what they believe they are owed.
Schendel Construction says it has been able to stay in business through other projects, but was forced to lay off more than 100 employees and enforce pay cuts.
“Time is running out for us and our employees,” Schendel-Reese told CTV News, adding that she's asked for a meeting with Premier Rachel Notley.
The premier said it is a tough situation stemming from poor government planning.
"Our officials have been working with the subcontractors and meeting with them, and we will continue to do that. And certainly once the election is over, I'm happy to sit down with them and problem solve," Notley said.
However, Schendel-Reese said the hospital has been plagued with problems: "Just in the duration of this specific project, we have seen four changes in leadership. And we believe that both the elected and non-elected government officials all had an impact on this project."
The Grande Prairie Regional Hospital was announced in 2007 and originally supposed to be completed in 2015. The government says it is expected to be finished sometime this year.
Schendel-Reese doesn’t believe that will happen given what she’s seen at the site.
With files from Jeremy Thompson