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'Home from hell': Neighbourhood tired of infill eyesore
Timm Bruch, CTV Edmonton
Published Friday, October 12, 2018 5:16PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, October 12, 2018 7:17PM MDT
An Alberta Avenue neighbourhood is looking to the City of Edmonton to get rid of a local infill – but the eyesore in the middle of their community could be on borrowed time.
The frustration over the construction project has reached a boiling point after years of complaints to the city.
Mitch Nickolson, who lives across the street from the project, has made multiple calls to complain.
“This is a quiet neighbourhood,” Nickolson said. “The only thing we have is this big eyesore right in the middle of the neighbourhood that no one is doing anything about. It’s kind of the home from hell.”
Construction on the building started roughly four years ago. Since then, it’s hit some major snags. That includes misinterpreted building rules, injuries to the builder, and an expired permit.
Gaurav Singhmar, who is the owner of Singhmar Developments, said the project hasn’t been ideal.
“I really do regret the fact it sits in the neighborhood and is an unattractive building,” Singhmar said. “I can completely understand that people are upset about it. This project is quite a unique project: it’s an up-down duplex, [and] it’s quite rare to have an up down duplex in the city of Edmonton.”
Since the permit was approved in 2014, the site has attracted pests and stirred up fears of potential squatters.
The city doesn’t technically have the authority to force a builder to finish a project. There are, however, provincial and municipal regulations they can enforce to ensure a property is maintained at a certain standard. According to the city, “minimum property standards include ensuring the building is properly boarded up to prevent air water and moisture infiltration, the construction site remains free of debris, and grass and weeds are mowed.”
“We’ve contacted the city regularly and they’ll send out an inspector and check things,” Nickolson said, “but for the most part whenever we’ve contacted the city they say it’s up to the builder.”
But there could be good news coming for the neighbourhood. Singhmar told CTV News that the building will be completed by the end of next September.
“I have made a public commitment it will be done and finished and will be an attractive project,” Singhmar said. “[It] will be wrapped up in a year.”
Across the street, however, not everyone is convinced.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Nickolson said. “You hear a lot of false promises out there.”
-With files from Nicole Weisberg