The City of Regina is giving those involved in the Capital Pointe project an ultimatum: resume construction or prepare to have the hole filled.
“They have to provide a plan of action between now and the end of this month, or else by the end of April that hole will be filled — either by them or by us,” Mayor Michael Fougere said Friday, echoing the explanation given by city administrators Thursday.
The condo and hotel development at the corner of Albert Street and Victoria Avenue has become a source of major frustration for many residents after about 10 years of delays. It’s been called an “eyesore” by councillor Bob Hawkins, who recently asked city administration what can be done to avoid stalled projects such as this in the future.
The lot sat empty between 2011 and 2015 when excavators finally began to dig a hole for the foundation.
The city granted a foundation permit to Westgate Properties in September 2017 but that permit was set to expire if no meaningful work had been done within six months.
Hitting that deadline this week, the city’s director of development services, Louise Folk announced on Thursday that Westgate’s engineer — Isherwood Geostructural Engineers — is requiring specific action by April 30.
What that means, she said, is that developers have roughly two weeks (March 30) to announce their intention to resume construction at the site or steps will be taken to have the hole filled in. If that doesn’t happen, Folk said, firstly, Westgate will be instructed by their engineer to back-fill. The second step would be for the city to issue a legal order to back-fill the site. Once that is issued, Westgate would be legally required to complete the work.
“To enable the developer to take this action, the city is not expiring the permit today,” Folk said.
Many questions were deferred by Folk to the engineer. That company deferred to Westgate, which has brought on Fortress Real Developments to lead the project.
Fortress responded Thursday afternoon.
“At this time we are not in a position to make any further comments regarding what we consider has now become a legal matter.”
In terms of communication between the city and Fortress, Folk was concise but repetitive.
“We’ve been seeking cooperation with the developer,” she stated at least five times, never elaborating any further than that.
In addition, Folk also added the developer owes the city $50,244 in outstanding taxes from 2017 and if they aren’t paid, a lien will be placed on the property.