Documents shed light on Squamish's Westcoast Outbuildings' spiral into bankruptcy | Squamish Chief

Documents shed light on Squamish's Westcoast Outbuildings' spiral into bankruptcy

Company listed $261,581 in assets and more than $3.7 million in liabilities, bankruptcy filing shows

Squamish-based modular structure firm Westcoast Outbuildings was buried under millions in unpaid loans, bills, and taxes when it declared bankruptcy in October, insolvency documents obtained by The Chief show.

According to the package provided to creditors by the company's insolvency trustee, Westcoast listed just $261,581 in assets and more than $3.7 million in liabilities. First on the list is a "deemed trust claim" by the Canada Revenue Agency for $353,398 in unpaid payroll taxes, a claim with priority over all other creditors. Meanwhile, both the secured and unsecured creditors in the package reveal a laundry list of unpaid contractors and unfinished projects throughout the province.

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The largest unsecured claim listed is the Village of Gitwinksihlkw's at $537,211. The Nisga village sued Westcoast in August after the company failed to deliver on a "Welcome House" tourist centre, allegedly leaving the struggling community "devastated."

However, the company in its legal response to the lawsuit denied wrongdoing, claiming it was under no legal obligation to use funds provided by the village for the "Welcome House" project. The village's lawyer, Joelle Walker with Miller Titerle, did not respond to The Chief's request for comment about the implications of the bankruptcy on the litigation.

Lawyer for Westcoast Outbuildings Daniel Yaverbaum, of the firm Harper Grey, and the company's owners Geoff Baker and Laura-Lee Normandeau, declined comment when contacted by The Chief.

Harper Grey itself is listed as an unsecured creditor with a $16,277 claim, while both Normandeau and Baker show up on the list with unsecured $15,000 claims for unpaid shareholder loans.

The Surrey School Board, which also sued Westcoast over failure to deliver portable buildings, is listed as an unsecured creditor with a $291,200 claim. The board's lawyer, Matthew Swanson with Borden Ladner in Vancouver, declined comment on the company's bankruptcy.

The next largest claim listed is from the Yale First Nation at $212,029. Westcoast and the Yale First Nation had teamed up for an affordable housing project which won an "Active Housing Innovation" award in the 2018 Reframe Housing Competition, held by Urban Matters CCC and the BC Non-Profit Housing Association.

Other creditors include several building supply firms including Rona, Cannex, Dick's Lumber, Griff's, and Home Depot. In addition, the list reveals the company owed thousands in taxes including more than $16,000 in property taxes to the District of Squamish, $91,848 in unpaid GST to the Canada Revenue Agency, $61,366 in PST owed to the provincial government, and more than $27,000 owed to the Workers' Compensation Board. Moreover, the company's landlord at its Squamish production facility, BCR Properties Ltd., is listed with a claim of more than $77,000 in unpaid rent and utilities.

A bankruptcy auction for Westcoast Outbuildings has been scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22 and 23 at 39200 Government Road, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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