Mount Royal Tennis Club forced to pay $26,000 in unpaid architects’ fees

Morgan Lowrie
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The Mount Royal Tennis club, which has been operating on Westmount’s border for more than 100 years, was recently ordered by a Quebec court judge to settle unpaid architect’s fees totalling more than $26,000.

The Mount Royal Tennis club, which has been operating on Westmount’s border for more than 100 years, was recently ordered by a Quebec court judge to settle unpaid architect’s fees totalling more than $26,000.

The dispute stemmed from an over-$2 million renovation that took place over the years of 2009-2010, which ended in financial disputes with both the contractor and the architect.

According to the judge’s decision, which was recently obtained by the Examiner, the architect, Bruce Anderson, sued after four invoices went unpaid.

“When we tried to collect payment, we were told that the club was having some financial problems,” Anderson said in an interview. “Then, at some point they claimed there were issues with a few of the aspects that were done in the club.”

In his decision, Judge Sylvain Coutlée wrote that, despite the club’s stated dissatisfaction with the work, the club “made no claim for damages” against the architect, and there was “no indication that the plaintiff [Anderson] made mistakes in the execution of his contract.”  He wrote that the defendant’s case not paying the plaintiff’s invoices was “riddled with pretense [‘faux-semblants’] and that the club’s story was “not credible.”

The court document also cited that the club took issue with the invoices of the contractor, Arthur Murray Contracting ltd, a dispute that was settled separately out of court, for an undisclosed amount.

Patrick Martin, a club member (and Westmount city councillor) who was paid to act as the organization’s representative on the job site during the time of construction, explained that “the club was unhappy with the performance of the contractor, and the advice being given by the professionals, including architects and the engineers, and consequently contested some of the invoices.”

According to the judge’s decision, which was recently obtained by the Examiner, the architect, Bruce Anderson, sued after four invoices went unpaid.

He said that although the settlement amount is private, it constituted a “substantial reduction” in the amount claimed by the contractor.

He said that the unsatisfactory work included lingering drainage issues and a $92,000 landscaping bill that the club contested. 

The original contract was for $1,881,580, with approximately $300,000 later added for problems discovered on the work site, additional work that was requested and professional recommendations by architects and engineers.

Martin explained that most of this work was due to the aged nature of the building, and to problems discovered during the course of the renovation, when the deficiencies in the building’s structure were revealed.

Architect Bruce Anderson says that the Quebec court’s decision regarding his bills constitutes a “moral victory,” since his legal fees for the trial neared the amount he collected for the unpaid invoices.  He says he remains disappointed by the club’s actions.

“We were never fully able to understand why the club took on the attitude that they did,” he said.

Martin says that the club is ready to move on, despite residual problems with the building.

“We have had to deal with huge flooding on three or four occasions since the construction, and that has caused enormous damage in the basement, to the point that now we are redoing the floor again.”

 

“We were unsatisfied with the work and remain unsatisfied.”

Geographic location: Westmount, Quebec

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