Lions campground gazebo left roofless as major contractor skips town

The Lions gazebo in winter
The Lions gazebo in winter

A handshake deal went sour for the Rossland Lions Club last summer when major roofing contractor Flynn Canada Ltd.—which was in town to rebuild the arena roof in 2010 and City Hall's roof in 2011—reneged on an agreement and forced the club to scramble after local contractors and funds instead.

Bill Profili of the Lions described the soured side-deal to council on Monday evening.Flynn's workers were given access to the curling rink's washrooms and lunchroom for more than two months while Flynn rebuilt the arena roof; in exchange, Flynn agreed to provide the labour and materials to re-roof the gazebo at the Lions Campground.

"They looked at [the gazebo roof] and formalized it," Profili told council, referring to the verbal agreement Flynn made with Lions member Jim Albo.

"Jim Albo talked to them in person on a number of occasions," Profili said in a separate interview with the Rossland Telegraph, and made "personal arrangements."

"It was a small enough job," Profili said. "We'll get that done in half a day, they told us." Flynn planned to use leftover roofing materials.

In return, Flynn benefited from not having "the extra expense and nuisance" to bring in portable toilets and a portable building for workers to take breaks in bad weather. "It made life simple [for them]," Profili said.

The timing didn't work out after the arena project was finished, but the contractor promised they would fix the Lions' roof when they came back to work on City Hall the following year.

Unfortunately, Flynn only gave the Lions ten days’ notice, leaving the club no time to round up volunteers to strip the old roof. Consequently, the Lions hired local contractor Laface to strip the roof on short notice so it would be ready for Flynn to re-roof.

"The roof was all ready and prepped, but then [Flynn] left town and didn't do the job," Profili said. The contractor left behind some materials, but Profili said these weren't useful as local contractors did not have access to the specialized glues, tools, and labour required for their installation.

The Lions were forced to buy asphalt shingles and hire another local contractor, Ross Wallis, who "worked through a weekend to get it done for us." The work had to be done quickly, Profili said, "so the building wouldn't rot in the rain."

Instead of a free roof, the total cost to the Lions came to some $4500: stripping the old roof cost about $1800, and putting on the new roof cost roughly $2700, of which $800 was in materials. The Rotary Club donated $2500 to the work, and the Lions took $2000 from their reserve.

The Rossland Telegraph received the following correspondence from Kirtis Bergen, the Kelowna branch manager for Flynn Canada Ltd.:

“Flynn Canada's local project management remains unaware of the discussions or handshake deal that are indicated as having occurred. As I am sure you can understand, for a host of reasons Flynn Canada does not perform work by handshake.

“We acknowledge the charitable work that the Lions Club is involved in and therefore regret that the Lions Club feels the way it does.”

Profilli asked council to consider drafting a letter to Flynn to express "dissatisfaction with their failure to meet local commitments," so they are "aware that the community is not pleased with the rather underhanded way that they managed the whole issue."

The problem will come to council for discussion at the next regular meeting.

"This is a valuable lesson in the integrity of local businesses and the value of local contractors," Profili said. "Local contractors don't shaft local service clubs. They really stepped up to the plate for us."

"Out of town contractors have no commitment and they don't really give a damn if they leave a bad taste: too bad, so sad," he said. "This contractor didn't make good on the agreements they'd made with the Lions."