City deems west Windsor apartment unsafe, residents must be out in 5 days

Living conditions at an apartment building have drawn the attention of community groups and city inspectors in Windsor, Ont. on Friday, July 9, 2021. (Alana Hadadean/CTV Windsor)

City of Windsor officials say despite efforts to work with building owners and representatives, inspectors have had to deem a west end housing structure unsafe and residents must be out next week.

The building at 245 Detroit Street is deemed unsafe for occupancy and the city is issuing a Prohibition of Occupancy Order on Thursday.

Windsor’s Human and Health Services staff, Family Services Windsor Essex, and other community agencies are working together to assist displaced residents with individual needs assessments and alternate accommodations.

“It is so unfortunate that it has come to this,” said executive director, Housing, Homelessness and Children’s Services, Debbie Cercone. “The loss of these units will further exacerbate the lack of affordable housing in the community.”

Inspectors said they have been monitoring the conditions of the building since issuing an Unsafe Order on July 8, 2021.

Residents at Riverplace Residence described the living conditions to CTV News earlier this week.

"There’s no water at all. No hot water. No cold water," said resident John Bradley.

Michael Thiele the lawyer representing the property owner alleges in a statement;

"In early morning hours of Saturday (overnight) someone (some people) turned off the water and they removed/stole the actual water line to the building.

The estimated cost to repair again (what was just repaired less than 24 hours before) is $4000 to $5000. Vandalism and theft like this has been happening regularly. We don’t know "who" did it and no one is coming forward with information.”

Thiele says the building owner will fully cooperate with the city’s order and appreciates the decisiveness of the Deputy Chief Building Official in “what is clearly a very serious situation.”

“At this time it is beyond dispute that the occupants need to be rehoused for their own health and safety,” he says. “The owner intends to assess the structure as soon as it is vacant and will follow the directives of the City’s Deputy Chief Building Official to ensure public safety.”

Thiele says the owner will be assessing the property as soon as it is vacant and will follow directives from the city’s deputy chief building official to ensure public safety.

“The immediate focus of all involved is on getting the tenants appropriately rehoused along with providing them with the necessary supports and social services that they require,” he says.

Thiele says the city has been on site offering relocation assistance to tenants and the owner is also working to solve the issues that need to dealt with.

The city said the unsafe order was based on the lack of life safety systems, working fire alarms, functioning heating and ventilation systems, and a potable water distribution system to the entire building.

A news release from the city said some systems have been restored, but the potable water distribution system cannot be properly maintained and the building remains unsanitary and therefore unsafe for all occupants.

“My hope is that this property can eventually be redeemed,” said chief building official John Revell. “The City of Windsor has several incentives available through the Planning Department to support redevelopment and turn this into a success in the Sandwich Community”.

All occupants must be out of the building by midnight Tuesday, July 20.