Repair Order Timelines for Westcourt Place Extended by the City

AM800-NEWS-WESTCOURT-FIRE-NOVEMBER-2019

There have been many damage reports from engineers, cleanups and hundreds of displaced tenants still have little answers as to when they can go home.

It's been nearly a year since fire ripped through the parking garage of Westcourt Place on 99 Chatham St E.  in downtown Windsor, Ont. in November of 2019.

Westcourt lawyer Bob Reynolds told The Property Standards Committee "nobody's swinging a hammer at this stage" on Friday.

Reynolds was appealing four orders to repair issued to the Westcourt Place ownership by the city's building department on March 4th.

He told the committee owners are working as fast as circumstances will allow, telling CTV Windsor the complexity of the repair job combined with COVID-19 is delaying progress.

"It's sort of like a Russian doll, you lift off one lid and there's something else underneath it."

The committee granted an extra three months for the first three orders to get the repair work rolling, according to committee member Rino Bortolin.

"There is no need to push that point if there is work in goodwill to actually rectify the issues," he says.

Reynolds says that extra time will help contractors sort things out.

"They feel they should be in a position to provide city with an engineering report, have the contractor retained and they'll be able to give some timelines in terms of construction time," added Reynolds.

Lawyers took exception to the fourth order to restore the building to its original condition within 120 days based on it being vacant.

Reynolds says that timeline is inconceivable, but Bortolin says it's a huge issue that needs to be rectified soon.

"This has been a huge issue in the community with a lot of residents out of their homes for a long time ... we'd like to see this rectified and moving ahead and the last thing we want is to see a building that size sit empty and vacant," added Bortolin.

The committee agreed to extend that order to March 4 of 2021 — giving the building department  leeway to extend that order if necessary — with the ultimate goal of making the building safe and getting tenants back in their homes.

The engineer's report and building permits are due in early December.

— with files from CTV Windsor's Rich Garton.