The fate of Capital Pointe now lies with the development company itself as the appeal board has given it three options and a deadline to decide what to do in a month.
The Saskatchewan Building and Accessibility Standards (SBAS) released its decision on the appeal on Friday at noon. Instead of upholding the City of Regina’s Order to Comply to backfill the hole issued on April 3, 2018, the SBAS varied the order by giving Westgate Properties three options and a deadline of September 30 to tell the city.
Option 1: Start building by April 1
The first option is to complete construction on the high-rise condo and hotel development. For that to happen, Westgate has to submit a new excavation design and permit application for the hole to the city no later than October 30. Design documents and building permits have to be submitted by Feb. 28, 2019 and construction has to start no later than April 1, 2019.
The decision said completion of the project should be expected no later than March 30, 2020.
Option 2: Fix the hole to keep it safe
The second option is to build permanent shoring works to protect the site, adjacent buildings and sidewalks surrounding the hole from slumping.
Option 3: Fill the hole by this fall
The third and final option is to follow the city’s initial order to decommission and backfill the hole. In that case, Westgate has a deadline to start work no later than November 30 of this year.
The decision by the SBAS essentially came down to expert testimony during the hearing in July, which concluded that the hole itself is not unsafe. However, the decision also stated that the site could not remain in its current condition indefinitely.
The City of Regina announced it will withdraw a request for proposals from companies to backfill the hole on the site, as it is no longer in a legal position to do so.
“This is a complex file and residents can be confident that the City represented their interests to address public safety. We respect that the board considered many factors in its decision. We are reviewing the decision and considering our options,” the city wrote in a statement.
While understanding the public frustration and interest around this case, the city declined to provide any further information or comment as “further legal action may be pending.”
Westgate Properties lawyer reacts
The lawyer representing Westgate Properties, Neil Abbott, said his clients are pleased with the options as they’re not forced to do what the city wanted–for them to backfill the hole.
“We’ve always opposed that option. We’ve thought the process that was undertaken by the city to strive towards that option was not one that was in keeping with the evidence,” said Abbott. “You can imagine my client would not be looking at (backfilling the hole) as its first or even preferred option.”
He added since it’s only been a day since they received the decision, Westgate Properties hasn’t given him any instructions with what they want to do.
Considering the city feels health and safety is the main issue, Abbott said he’s satisfied the appeal board found the hole isn’t unsafe at this time.
“The hearing proceeded on that basis and the evidence was led on that basis and the board made a decision that way, and that’s all that a lawyer and client can ask for,” he said.
Read the full decision in the ruling over Westgate Properties vs Regina below.