Despite a last-ditch pledge by the owner to make repairs, council has turned down an appeal of a demolition order for the property on 1461-101st Street.
The demolition order was issued on the property by the city on Oct. 5 and has a Nov. 30 deadline. The owner, Zia Waraich of Zia Homes Ltd., had previously asked for an extension of the demolition order to Dec. 15 to allow for repairs, but was turned down by the city who noted that an appeal of the order was the proper next step.
That appeal went ahead Monday night at council. Waraich went before council on the Zoom platform pledging to do extensive repairs on the property. He told council thought he could get the work done for within $40,000.
But councillors seemed sceptical from the outset. Councillor Greg Lightfoot said he thought the work needed would be closer to $100,000.
The property itself has been subject to public health orders and multiple inspections. According to a city memo dated Nov. 23, it was first placarded on Aug. 16, 2017 due to extensive water damage and mold in the bathroom and under the kitchen sink, damaged interior doors, broken windows, and a damaged subfloor.
At the time Apartment 1 was placarded while apartments 2 and 3 were described as being in substandard condition.
According to the same memo, on Sept. 27, 2019, it was inspected by Public Health again at the request of the RCMP, and several deficiencies were noted in Apartment 2 including discarded syringes in the stairway of the building, holes and damage to the walls, and damage to the front porch entrance. Public Health noted many of the deficiencies from the Aug. 16, 2017 inspection still existed.
When the appeal was considered for decision later on in the meeting, City Planner Ryan Mackrell made it clear administration’s view was that it was time for the building to go.
“This is a public safety hazard, without a doubt,” said Mackrell. As for Waraich’s pledge to repair the property, Mackrell said normally they ask to see a detailed floor plan — for plumbing, electrical, mechanical and so on — in addition to the list he provides, so that “we know they are aware of the value of the work being done and everything that it’s going to take to go into this property.”
Mackrell made clear Waraich never has been able to provide those types of detailed floor plans. “We have no belief that will happen this time,” said Mackrell.
Mayor David Gillan did express concern about what might happen if the owner refused to demolish the property. In that case the city would take that task on themselves and move those costs onto the owner’s property taxes.
Gillan worried those taxes would be difficult to collect and the owner might walk away. Instead, Gillan suggested giving the owner one more chance by having him put down a deposit to proceed with repairs, and if certain renovations weren’t done it could be forfeited.
But council was in no mood to give the owner any more last-chances, pointing to the history at the property.
“It’s time to remove that property from our city,” said councillor Thomas ‘Bill‘ Ironstand, who confirmed the costs of repairs would likely be in the $100,000 range councillor Lightfoot suggested earlier.
“I am not interested in working with this individual,” said Lightfoot, who also pointed to another property owned by Waraich in the city that had been placarded by Sask. Health.
“I do not believe he will be correcting this to the state that he needs to... I don’t think it can be repaired properly. It’s time for this property to go.”
Councillor Kelli Hawtin was outraged the property had even been rented out to people given its condition. “Allowing his properties to not only to be in derelict conditions, but take advantage of people that are paying rent in substandard — if that’s even a high enough quality word — living conditions.”
In the end council upheld the demolition order unanimously.