City forced to write off uncollectable debts

The money owed is related to three different accounts that city staff suggested council write off after numerous attempts to collect

City council has written off more than $6,500 in debts the city has deemed uncollectible.

The money owed is related to three different accounts that city staff suggested council write off after numerous attempts to collect the funds were unsuccessful.

Dennis Brodie, the city’s finance operations supervisor, said referrals to collection agencies were also undertaken, but to no avail.

Left with no other option, council recently agreed to write off $1,545 associated with WC Eveson Holdings, $1,192.15 connected to the BC Bike Race, and $3,817.22 related to Campbell River Shake & Shingle.

Brodie said the BC Bike Race account relates to damage to an electric connection at the Sportsplex in 2013 – the last time the event passed through the city.

“Despite numerous attempts to collect, no payment has been made and it does not appear that the city will have any success in doing so,” Brodie said.

While BC Bike Race administrators did not get back to the Mirror for comment prior to press deadline, Andreas Hestler, marketing director for the BC Bike Race, said, “it’s certainly not an issue for us to remedy” and added that the event is aimed at fostering relationships with host communities.

“We like to leave our base camps and communities as clean or cleaner than when we arrived,” Hestler said. “Our philosophy is all about creating a relationship and doing the best we can for both the event and the global marketing we create to drive future business into those towns, they are not mutually exclusive but driven from the same goal.”

The BC Bike Race, coincidentally, has not returned to Campbell River since 2013 – the same year the damage was done – but Hestler said the two are not related.

“That was simply a decision on logistics and tightening up the course,” Hestler said. “Like the Tour de France that changes the route annually, we are always considering change for both current venues and those we have visited before. We must keep the participants engaged and excited. BC Bike Race had an amazing time in Campbell River, and one day we hope to return. The town, the people and the community are amazing.”

As for the other accounts, WC Eveson Holdings relates to flat rate sewer fees for the years 2009 to 2012 on property which is outside the city limits but was granted access to the city’s sewer collection system in 2009.

“Because the property is located outside of city boundaries, the account was not initially set up within the utility billing system,” Brodie said. “Ownership has changed on this property and there has been no success in collecting the amounts in arrears.”

The Campbell River Shake & Shingle account relates to damage to a guard rail and some road signs along Duncan Bay Road.

Brodie said a trailer being towed by Campbell River Shake & Shingle, but being towed by a different company, hit the guard rail and signs, damaging city infrastructure.

But Brodie said the driver, who has been contacted by the city, has denied he was driving the truck at the time the damaged was sustained.

“Neither party accepts responsibility and no ICBC claim was opened, leaving the city with no avenue for collection,” Brodie said.

That didn’t sit well with Coun. Charlie Cornfield.

“It just bothers me, when the damage was done, to not make good on it,” he said. “It’s not very honourable in my opinion.”

Cornfield questioned whether the city could take any of the parties owing money to small claims court.

Brodie while it is an option, the staff time spent in court and the expense to file an application are not worth it.

“This is an unfortunate reality sometimes of being in business,” Brodie said. “Certainly, council is more than welcome to direct staff to make an application to small claims court if that’s warranted, but I believe it’s staff’s opinion that additional staff time spent on the file is better spent elsewhere.”

 

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