Former Ballard Fine Homes project manager fined over occupancy permits

Former Ballard Fine Homes project manager fined over occupancy permits

A former project manager with Ballard Fine Homes has been fined for falsely telling clients in 2022 that the Regional District of Nanaimo had issued occupancy permits for their homes.

The court heard the owners of the two homes near Qualicum Beach moved in based on the untruthful information provided to them.

Darren Gaudreault, 52, pleaded guilty to the two offences under the Building Regulation Act as part of a plea deal Monday.

A third count was dropped.

The prosecutor for the Regional District of Nanaimo said in one of the cases the homeowners lived in the home for five months before an occupancy permit was issued.

The Regional District of Nanaimo issued a news release about their investigation on June 3, 2022.

Brian Sutton, Gaudreault’s lawyer said Gaudreault lost his job after the allegations about the occupancy permits came to light and subsequently his wife and mother who also worked at Ballard Fine Homes left their employment at the company.

Sutton said Gaudrealt was getting pressure from above and pressure from below to get the homes completed and people moved in when he made this tragic, bad mistake. He says Gaudrealt was sorry for the distress he caused the Regional District of Nanaimo and the people involved.

After Gaudreault was let go from Ballard Fine Homes he got another job he was terminated from and despite applying for 150 jobs he only got three interviews, Sutton said. He’s no longer working in the industry.

When the judge gave Gaudrealt an opportunity to address the court he declined.

Gaudreault was fined $1,000 for each count and an ordered to pay an extra $1,000 in prosecution costs.

Ballard Fine Homes was fined and pleaded guilty to three non-criminal charges in February.

The Regional District of Nanaimo says it began pursuing this action against Gaudreault when it became aware of the allegedly fraudulent occupancy permits.

“What started as one case evolved into two independent but related cases that the RDN pursued through the court system,” the RDN said in a statement to CHEK News.

“The RDN is satisfied that the public interest has been served and that Don Ballard, on behalf of Ballard Fine Homes, and Darren Gaudreault, former contractor of Ballard Fine Homes, have each taken responsibility for occupancy without a permit.”

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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