Penalties in hockey dorm fiasco

It has been a little over a year since construction stopped on a much anticipated hockey dorm on Eckhardt Avenue, leaving several companies unpaid and out of work.

Now they are fighting back. In January and February, notices of civil claims have been filed by Task Construction Management Inc., Avkon Construction Ltd., R & R Reinforcing Ltd., Grizzly Excavating Ltd. and Geopac Inc. against the Okanagan Elite Hockey Association and the city of Penticton.

Also named are Loren Reagan and Michael Elphicke, the former partners in the hockey association.

The five companies have listed many grievances in the claims and are asking for thousands of dollars in compensation.

Because it is a matter before the courts, most did not return calls or declined to comment when contacted.  Task Construction said it is a private commercial matter and cannot be discussed.

Among the grievances listed on the claims are allowing work to continue on the property in the face of the stop work order, authorizing the plaintiff and others to supply labour and materials when they knew or ought to have known that the city may not be transferring title to the hockey association and authorizing work to proceed when it was known that the hockey association was not the owner and had no lien able interest in the property.

Further listed is the association did not have and or did not maintain all necessary building permits and approvals to commence construction from the city.

Compensation being asked for ranges from $145,000 to close to $561,000. It adds up to around $1.6 million, which could potentially fall on the shoulders of taxpayers.

But Mayor Dan Ashton said at this time the city has not been served and there are no legal court cases.

“All they, (the companies)  are doing is reserving their right for the future,” he said. “This situation involved Loren Reagan and his entity, the city never entered an agreement  with these companies.

"I am very confident of our legal advice and representation on this.”

Reagan could not be reached at his cell phone number or previous home phone number. People who did not wish to be identified, said he has since left Penticton.

Elphicke could not  be reached for comment.

Reagan made an initial offer of $850,000 to buy the  land in the fall of 2011. The city asked for more, and he made a final offer of $925,000.

The association came through with a $50,000 non-refundable deposit, and once it was approved by the city council, the wheels were set in motion for the new facility for hockey players.

At the time Reagan, who moved from Calgary to Penticton in 2010, claimed he wanted to buy the land and build the dormitory because his 14-year-old son had benefited from involvement in the Okanagan Hockey Academy.

Construction had already begun at the site when the $15 million he had in financing fell through.

The city gave Reagan a series of extensions to come up with the money, but after several delays, construction stopped in January of 2012.

For a time, mounds of dirt and an inactive crane and other equipment sat at the location. The property is now totally cleared and sits empty.

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