By Greg Price
It was a piece of mail one Taber resident would have preferred not to have received on Friday.
A resident along 52nd Avenue got a Notice of Registration of Builder’s Lien against the property to the tune of $170,000 from Dragster Directional Drilling with work or materials that were to be provided for Drew Communications Ltd., the company that is attached for utility installation to the $9.2 million dollar investment by Telus that was announced in March to roll out a fibre optic network for the community. Taber was selected as part of a Telus pilot project which would see 90 per cent of Taber homes and businesses be eligible for the upgrade, giving residents access to the fastest internet speeds Telus offers (currently as high as 100 Mbps). Roads and alleyways had to be torn up to achieve the project.
“It was an Government of Alberta Envelope with one pink sheet from the Land Titles office,” said the distraught homeowner, preferring to remain anonymous for The Times story. “We didn’t even opt in for the internet. And what are the implications of a lien if it’s on your record? Does it ever leave?”
Door-to-door Telus representatives were to go to every premise in a given neighbourhood to request permission to have a fibre optic network connected directly to homes or businesses as reported in a Taber Times story back on March 25. During the fibre-build program, the fibre connection was to be completed at no charge or with no obligation for residents to purchase services. It was announced in the March Times story, that there would be no cost for installation while Telus employees were in the community building the network.
According to the resident, her partner checked with his bank who did some calling around and found out more than 80 other liens have been issued to property owners in Taber.
“I don’t know if Telus is not paying them or Drew Communications is not paying them, but it is Dragster Drilling that is not getting paid, they are the ones who did the actual work,” said the Taber resident of the lien that was officially registered on Nov. 16.
Cory Armfelt, planning director for the Town of Taber, confirmed on Monday that the town was dealing with the issue in communication with Telus. Liens on real estate are a common way for creditors to collect what they are owed.
“We can get them off their liens. We have a resolution. It’s like overreacting by lawyers on all sides. It is kind of odd,” said Armfelt. “It has occurred, and it has to do with a contractor/sub contractor dispute. It has nothing to do with the town at all, it is a dispute between the contractor and the sub contractor. Telus is dealing with it on their end to satisfy land titles, to get all these (liens) off.”
Late Monday afternoon, the Town of Taber issued the following statement on its Web site to home owners who may be affected the liens…‘On November 23, 2015, the Town of Taber became aware of a dispute between a sub-contractor and contractor working on the fibre optic build in the community. The dispute involves a disagreement over payment terms between the parties. In order to bring significant attention to the issue, one of the parties chose to lien all the properties where the fibre optic cable was installed. This has resulted in numerous homes in Taber having liens placed on their properties.’
If you are one of these property owners, the Town of Taber requests you immediately call Brett Speight (TELUS Director, Customer Solutions Delivery) at 403-341-8429 or 587-876-2115 (cell). TELUS is working with Alberta Land Titles to have these liens removed as TELUS becomes aware of properties where liens are placed.