Blachford owed $3.41M, bankruptcy documents suggest
Blachford Lake Lodge closed with debts of $3.41 million, initial documents related to the company’s declaration of bankruptcy state.
Records at the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy show that Taiga Sport Fishing, the holding company that operated as Blachford Lake Lodge, also has assets worth $1.23 million.
So far, there is no more detailed information about the lodge’s list of creditors (people, businesses and governments owed money). A first meeting of creditors is scheduled for April 13, with BDO Canada the appointed insolvency trustee.
On Monday, lodge owner Mike Freeland said medical issues had formed part of the reason for winding down the company’s operations. Freeland said he was heading to Edmonton for tests.
He also attributed the lodge’s demise to “extreme inflationary pressures,” despite a record winter for bookings that left staff puzzled as to how the business ran out of cash to pay anyone.
Staff and guests will be among creditors awaiting next steps from BDO Canada as experts work out how to salvage cash from Blachford and settle outstanding debts.
On Tuesday, a group of four Australian tourists told Cabin Radio they had spent a total of $11,200 on a four-night stay at the lodge due to take place in early April. All such trips have now been cancelled and the lodge has said no money is available to refund anyone.
The tourists said that while they understood Freeland’s medical concerns and his work to keep the business afloat, they did not understand why the company had accepted a final payment of $8,476 from them on March 8, two weeks before its collapse.
“Surely the owner would have had a pretty good idea then that things were going downhill and the chance of bankruptcy was very real at this point,” the tourists wrote.
“We find it very frustrating that Mike Freeland didn’t take the ethical path and hold off on charging us the balance of our trip, when you imagine he would have had quite a good idea that he was not going to be trading much longer.
“At this stage there is no indication that we will receive any of our money back from Blachford. Unfortunately, our travel insurance may not cover this either.”
The group said they would still travel to Yellowknife as planned and “support the community with our accommodation and tours.” They said other operators had been “absolutely wonderful in their efforts to accommodate us at such late notice.”
“We feel for the employees and other businesses that have been affected by the closure, but we are finding it difficult to feel anything other than anger and disappointment at the owner of Blachford Lodge,” the letter concluded.
Freeland has declined interview requests. In his Monday statement, he said he was “personally devastated about how things turned out and truly sorry that we were not able to meet our obligations to our staff and guests to provide an experience of a lifetime.”
“I will continue to try to find ways to mitigate the impact of Blachford closure on our staff, guests and suppliers,” he wrote.