City imposed conditions and strict building schedule
After RCP published a story about the stalled development project at 11535 95A Street last September, property developer Gaurav Singhmar told CBC News he intended to complete the building within a year. At our publisher’s suggestion, I investigated to see if any progress was made.
A lot of work has gone on inside the building this spring, Singhmar told me in a telephone interview in mid-May.
Problems with the property began when Singhmar injured himself falling from a ladder in 2017. After his recovery, he ran into several difficulties getting back to work on the property. When he was able to turn his attention to it, he discovered the building permit had been suspended due to lack of activity.
“After I arranged financing and lined up tradespeople to do the work, the City told me the permit had been cancelled,” Singhmar says. “I used your story to talk to Councillor Caterina and the development department and begged them to reconsider.”
The City agreed to make an exception (building permits generally expire at the end of five years) as long as he met a long list of conditions that included hiring a structural engineer to confirm the project was safe to proceed.
“This spring, I have had 80 per cent of the floor joists replaced. We redid the plumbing and the wiring and the duct work will be replaced next week.” Some issues related to the building code needed to be worked through because of the duplex’s unique design, but they have been resolved. “We have put an incredible amount of work, money, and time into the development of this project,” says Singhmar.
Rocco Caterina, Coun. Tony Caterina’s assistant, confirms that after a number of conditions were met, the building permit has been extended with a very strict construction schedule.
As for the pigeons making themselves at home in the duplex, Singhmar says he is confident the problem will be solved by the time this paper goes to press.
“I have a siding company starting work this Friday [May 17] and once the cladding is up and soffits installed, the pigeons will be locked out of the house,” he explains. “By the end of this month, the place will be looking great on the outside and I hope that will give the neighbours some comfort.”
It should be noted that as of May 24, the siding work had not yet started.
Donna Paliwoda, one of the neighbours who has been complaining about the property for years, isn’t prepared to celebrate quite yet.
“The lack of communication is a real problem,” she says, adding that she and other neighbours had observed the work at the property this spring. “The workers had no safety gear and there were a couple of near misses when they were throwing things from the third floor to the ground.”
Paliwoda expects neighbours will keep a close eye on the site as work proceeds and will file complaints with the City when necessary.
“With the silence we’ve had since last fall and with all we’ve put up with over the last several years, this building will be getting no leeway from the community now,” she adds.
“I can appreciate that the neighbours are frustrated,” Singhmar says, “and I want to assure them that this project is going to be completed and on the market by October.”
Featured Image: Singhmar says the work will be completed and the duplex will be on the market by October. | Mimi Williams