Contractor responds to allegations of unpaid bills to Kingston hotel

According to those with Tourism Kingston and the Kingston Accommodation Partners, the financial impacts of the closure and now ongoing demolition of the LaSalle Causeway stretch far beyond the obvious for some local businesses.

At a press conference on Friday, Jun. 14, 2024, held by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to offer an update on the status of the LaSalle Causeway, Megan Knott, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tourism Kingston, mentioned that a contractor working on the causeway project had “walked away from” an over $44,000 hotel bill, insinuating the company had more than $44,000 unpaid and owing to a local hotel for rooms it had booked and used. While this was not the focus of the press conference, Kingstonist followed up on the matter, speaking with Krista LeClair, Executive Director of Kingston Accommodation Partners, an organization that advocates for the local tourism and accommodation sector.

LeClair confirmed Knott’s assertion that a contracting company had left a local hotel with outstanding bills for the rooms used by their workers, and she explained that the issue was not one that came about in the past few days.

“This week I heard from one of our hotel partners in the east end that was hosting [contractor] Landform throughout the construction process, and [the company is] no longer staying at the hotel. They have a hotel bill outstanding over $44,000, and the [phone] numbers that [the hotel has] been given and the email [addresses] that they’ve been given are non-responsive and deactivated,” LeClair said.

“So they are looking to see what’s next.”

Asked for clarification on whether the contractor has declined to pay or simply not responded to communications about the outstanding bill, LeClair said, “The bill goes back throughout construction… So we’re talking a while now that these rooms are outstanding.”

She did not disclose the name of the east-end hotel in question.

In terms of “looking to see what’s next,” LeClair said that a group of local tourism-associated businesses and organizations have “been working with lawyers to try to understand what our options are.”

“And I think we found a good solution, somebody that’s, you know, used to working in this space legally, and we’re looking now at putting together a town hall for businesses to be able to come out and get all the information on moving forward and the next steps,” she continued.

“We’ve been working with partners to try to understand, you know, who they do sue, how do we… it won’t be a class action, but certainly all of the different businesses that are needing compensation in some way will be able to choose to sign on with a partner, with a lawyer that is very familiar with this space and will support all of that.”

Asked what she meant when she said the action the group is looking into “won’t be class action,” LeClair said that “it isn’t classified as class action.”

“But it will be one lawyer for partners that can choose to sign up and work with them. They’ll be able to build a very similar case for support that all businesses will be able to access, and then they’ll work with them individually to understand their losses, as they are all different,” she concluded.

Later in the day, LeClair confirmed with Kingstonist that the contractor in question is Landform Civil Infrastructures Inc., a Hamilton-based company that purportedly specializes in bridge rehabilitation and steel fabrication. Landform Civil Infrastructures Inc. was awarded the $8,754,110 (including taxes) contract for the bascule bridge rehabilitation project back on Thursday, Jun. 1, 2023. Just over one year later, Priestly Demolition Inc. of King, Ontario was awarded the contract for the demolition and removal of the bascule bridge structure, valued at approximately $1.7 million.

Kingstonist reached out to Landform Civil Infrastructures Inc. via telephone but, as LeClair had indicated based on the local hotel’s feedback, that phone number is no longer in service. Emails to Landform went unanswered for two days, with one of a handful of emails bouncing back. However, today, Monday, Jun. 17, 2024, Derek Martin, President of Landform Civil Infrastructures Inc., responded to a message on LinkedIn. Following a back and forth on that platform, Martin disclosed his email address, and the conversation moved to email. There, Martin redirected Kingstonist’s inquiries to Jesse Noonan, General Manager — Eastern Canada for Landform.

“I can confirm that the statement is correct, and that money is owed to a local Hotel. As I’m sure you can appreciate, there have been many moving parts in managing the Contract post-event, including managing revenue stream. PSPC has been excellent to deal with to this end, however these things can take a little more time than a normal billing cycle would typically experience,” Noonan relayed in an email.

“The local Vendors, and the City of Kingston in general, have been incredibly helpful and pleasant to us during our time here. We have every intention of making those with whom with have agreements with whole as quickly as possible.”

With files from Cris Vilela.

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