Frustrated with what appears to be inactivity on the Capital Pointe development site, a Regina city councillor has asked city administration to look into what can be done to speed up or potentially penalize stalled projects of this nature.
“This is a hole in the heart of the city, it’s an eyesore,” said Ward 2 Councillor Bob Hawkins.
Hawkins wants to know what the city is doing to monitor the activity, or inactivity, on the Capital Pointe project, what the city’s options are if there is no substantial activity when the current foundation permit expires and if the options under the current bylaws aren’t very effective, what additional authority administration needs.
“I think it’s, first of all, to try and get these developers to get on with the project, but if that doesn’t work I would like to see this kind of thing prevented in the future,” said Hawkins. “Other cities don’t allow this kind of thing to go on. I’m hopeful that we can put some kind of control to stop this kind of thing.”
He’s been vocal about the development — or lack thereof — in the past, and noted he can’t accept the fact the city doesn’t seem to have the teeth to be able to step in and stop these kinds of lengthy delays from occurring.
In September, city hall issued a foundation permit to Westgate Properties, which is one of the developers.
That permit is set to expire on March 15, 2018, if meaningful construction work has not been completed.
Whether the project proceeds by any substantive measure in the near future, Hawkins still wants to find out how a similar situation can be prevented.
“We wouldn’t allow this kind of thing in a residential area, I do not see why it should go on in a commercial area, especially on a corner as prominent as the one we’re talking about.”
The project, on the corner of Albert Street and Victoria Avenue, has hit a number of snags over the last seven years. A variety of different developers have come on board and previous permits were issued.
And while there’s been a lot of change, one thing remains the same: the project hasn’t gotten off the ground.
“It’s frustrating for me, I think it’s frustrating for the citizens of the city and you know, people are starting to make fun of us because nothing’s happening and that’s very frustrating,” Hawkins said.
The proposed 27-storey project would include condos and a hotel, along with other amenities.
Machinery first began digging at the site in October 2015. After a few years of digging down, cranes have still not arrived to build up. In February, Project Director Greg Black said they were delayed because of a change to the underground parking plan.
Hawkins thinks if the project ever does get off the ground and completed, it could be a very important element in revitalizing downtown.
He said city administration will be submitting a report back to city council based on his questions in January.