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Out-of-court Settlement of the Dispute Over the Construction of the Saint-Laurent Sports Complex

5 décembre 2018

At its general meeting held on December 4, Saint-Laurent Council authorized the out-of-court settlement of the dispute over the construction of the Saint-Laurent Sports Complex. The Saint-Laurent Administration stated it was pleased to see this file closed for all parties involved: Ville de Montréal and the Borough of Saint-Laurent, Unigertec inc. (general contractor), La Garantie (surety) as well as the professionals and engineers concerned (architects Saucier + Perrotte, Hughes Condon Marler and SNC-Lavallin inc.). This settlement puts an end, once and for all, to all legal actions in this dispute, which lasted more than 3 years. Only one dispute of a subcontractor will continue on; however, Ville de Montréal will be released from the responsibility of shouldering the costs.

"This agreement obviously comes as good news for Saint-Laurent and Ville de Montréal, but especially for all the residents, who have already adopted these ultra-modern sports facilities since their inauguration in June 2017," stated Saint-Laurent's Mayor Alan DeSousa. "Over 100,000 visits have so far been made in order to take advantage of the public swimming slots since the Complex opened, more than 10,000 people have taken part in the events at the Complex and 12 sports clubs use it on a regular basis. This LEED-Gold-certified building has received a number of awards and accolades that have highlighted its excellent environmentally-friendly architecture and outstanding design."

The dispute began more significantly in May 2015 when Saint-Laurent declared the contractor in default because of widespread dissatisfaction over the timelines and completion of the work involved. The Borough then asked the contractor's surety to intervene to complete the project, which was finally delivered more than two years late. In December 2017, Unigertec in turn filed legal proceedings against Ville de Montréal for an amount, to date, of more than $30 million as a contractual balance and for additional costs during the execution of the work. Other legal action was launched by suppliers and subcontractors as well.

Under the proposed settlement, Ville de Montréal will pay a contractual balance of $8,500,835.01 before tax, plus additional credits of $174,137,87 before tax, due to the numerous requests for changes made while the project was under way. The architects and engineers contributed $737,658.17 to the settlement. It should be noted that on the amount paid by Ville de Montréal, $200,000 will be kept in trust in the external lawyer's account until all disputes with subcontractors and involving Ville de Montréal have ended, including full and final releases received. The proposed settlement also includes Unigertec's payment of a contractual penalty of $1 million to offset the costs of the delays in the completion of the work.

This settlement also makes it possible to completely strike off all legal hypothecs published against the Complex, which amounted to more than $6 million.

In the absence of such a settlement, the various legal actions would have taken a number of months or even years before the start of court proceedings, which would have probably lasted more than several weeks, representing excessively high costs in terms of lawyers' and experts' fees. In this sense, this agreement closes a situation of considerable magnitude for all parties.     

The construction of the Saint-Laurent Sports Complex represents a total investment of $55 million. The three-storey building totals 16,000 m². It includes an indoor soccer field, a 25-metre swimming pool, a recreational pool, a single gymnasium, a gymnastics palestra, a multi-purpose room and an additional training room.