Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Tauranga builder goes bust owing $1.9m

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Work has stalled at the Katikati St John ambulance station. Photo/Chris Steel
Work has stalled at the Katikati St John ambulance station. Photo/Chris Steel

Timing around the completion of the new St John's ambulance facility at Katikati is now unknown after a Tauranga building company has gone into voluntary liquidation owing more than $1.9 million.

An official report shows BayCom Construction, which has worked on schools, houses and commercial construction went into liquidation following a dispute with the Ministry of Education over school building weather tightness issues.

Joint liquidator Paul Clark from BDO said the completion of the St John project would be dependant on the support of the sub-contractors involved.

A proposal had been presented to the subcontractors, and the liquidators expect to make a decision by the end of the week, he said.

It was too early to predict whether a return would be available to unsecured creditors, Mr Clark said.

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The St John facility was one of six projects currently on BayCom's books, including alterations to a number of houses.

BayCom director Robin Whiting (pictured right) told NZME yesterday the St John building was at the gib-stopping stage.

The community funded building would provide accommodation and meeting/training rooms including two ambulance bays for the first response facility.

"We haven't walked away from anything at this stage.

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"The liquidators say it's their preference to complete projects," Mr Whiting said.

A financial statement filed for the company revealed it had a Westpac overdraft of $292,682.

That bank was also listed as an unsecured creditors with cross guarantees of $482,000.

Trade creditors were listed at $847,032 and shareholder advances of $314,000 had been made.

Mr Whiting said he had to sell his Tauranga house, valued at more than $900,000 to repay the bank, but he owned another smaller property.

Between six and 12 staff had been laid off from the business but many had already found other jobs, he said.

St John central region property and facilities manager Harmen van Weerden said it was working with the liquidators on the completion of the project and was unable to comment.

But he wanted to acknowledge those who made the building possible.

"St John acknowledges the community support and funding received to fund the building of the Katikati St John ambulance station."

The Build in a Year campaign was launched in July 2014 after St John Katikati had met the $230,000 cost of the land and had a further $230,000 set aside for the building.

St John are 100 per cent critical to the survival of our residents ... they have completely outgrown their current location.
Katch Katikati

Data from Priority One Show the facility on Sheffield St received a building consent valued at $800,000 in August 2015.

Building began in February.

One sub-contractor, who did not want to be named, hoped there would be an amicable ending.

Katch Katikati promotions manager Jacqui Knight said it would be devastating if the building was not completed but she had faith.

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"St John are 100 per cent critical to the survival of our residents ... they have completely outgrown their current location. I am sure one way or the other the building will get completed, something will happen - the community will make sure it does."

Katikati RSA secretary Murray Rutherfurd said it had donated about $5000 to the project "and would be very upset not to see it completed".

"We operate a large retirement village here and, with the number of elderly residents, we have relied on the ambulance service over the years. That is the reason we put together the donation."

- additional reporting NZME

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