Apartment tenants plunged into darkness by renovation project

At the corner of Ste. Catherine and Montcalm, there is a three-storey building with apartments and retail on the ground level. Its exterior is under renovations to fix the bricks, which had been falling on the sidewalk and roads below.

It’s been going on for months and months. The work includes completely wrapping the outside scaffolding with a white plastic covering, which also covers the walls of the building and all the windows and it blocks out the natural light from outside.

Tenants say the landlord wasn't clear on how long this reno would take and it’s been going on and on.

“We went to the City, and the city — after a long time and because we complained — decided that we could be locked in this thing with no real light for 21 days,” they said.  

21 days would have been easy. Scaffolding went up around the building nearly two years ago and the Montcalm side of the building was worked on first. The sunshine-stealing covering was added last May and tenants went without light for months, not just the 21-days that the city said was okay. Now, those living in the units along the Sainte Catherine St. side of the building are in the darkness.

The tenant says they feel like there is no one to defend their interests, so they're off to the provincial government next. They also noted that friends of theirs live in a corner unit of the building, “that’s even worse." 

That means their friends have partial or complete coverage of their apartment windows for the duration of the project, which continues to drag on.