Nova Scotia

Contractor sues farmers' market for unpaid bill

The contractor that built the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market is suing the organization for failing to pay part of the bill.
The Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market is being sued by the contractor that built the state-of-the-art building. (CBC)

The contractor that built the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market is suing the organization for failing to pay part of the bill.

RCS Construction, of Bedford, says it took the step after numerous discussions with the market. It's the latest blow for a market with money problems.

RCS, the lead contractor in the construction of the market, slapped the operators with a lawsuit this week for failing to pay outstanding invoices, including interest, totalling $221,880.12.

Doug Doucet, owner and CEO of RCS Construction, said he had hoped to avoid court action.

"We’ve hoped for the last two years that they will be a success and they will be able to pay their bill. That's always been our hope, and we still hope that. It's just that at some point in time, we have to close the door," he said.

The farmers' market is a $13-million state of the art building on Halifax's waterfront.

But Doucet said the project was plagued with problems from the beginning, including delays that pushed key construction periods into the busy tourism season.

"There would be days when we'd have to pack up and 200 trades people would have to leave the site because there were three cruise ships in town," he said.

"So, to start and go and start and go, when you're pouring concrete and doing structural reinforcing at that magnitude, it has a huge impact."

CBC News was unable to get a response from the co-operative about the lawsuit Friday.

The market has hired consultants from New York to try to turn fortunes around.

Doucet said his company did get a cheque to cover part of the bill just couple of months ago. But in his 25 years of construction in Halifax, he said he's never seen anything like it.

"I can tell you this is my worst experience, most unprofessional experience, in dealing with a client and it was very frustrating," he said.

"It was obvious to us at the end of the day that the client really was over their head in this build."

Doucet said he is sensitive to the market's money problems, but he's also hoping the lawsuit will bring him some closure for what's been a very difficult construction contract.

The Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, which opened in August 2010,  is struggling with a multimillion-dollar debt and smaller crowds than anticipated through the weekdays.