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City, councillor respond to concerns about 2411 New St condo

2411 New Street
2411 New Street

In the last few days I’ve been contacted by a number of residents concerned about information they have recently seen posted online regarding a condominium building at 2411 New Street in Ward 2.

For background, I am familiar with the situation here. I was first contacted by a resident in 2014. I also met late last year with the individual from the communications firm that launched the recent public campaign on behalf of residents. I am aware of the concerns and perspectives of residents. I have also sought and received multiple briefings from city staff. I have been assured by staff that the building is structurally sound now, and not at risk of collapse. This information is also included in a city press release, below.

You have asked for My Take: I have a great deal of compassion for the situation residents are in. This matter is currently before the courts for a resolution.

Comments or questions can be left below, subject to adherence with the Online Commenting Guidelines, or left privately with me at Ward 2 City Councillor marianne.meedward@burlington.ca

Separately, the city has issued a press release to provide accurate information about the building in response to incorrect information that has appeared online. Highlights from the press release are below.

city of burlington logoCity of Burlington Press Release

City provides accurate information about New Street condo building

Burlington, Ont. – April 5, 2016—The City of Burlington is responding to incorrect information published on a website and shared on social media related to a condominium building at 2411 New St.

The 56-unit condominium apartment building was built in 1965 and converted to condos in 1998. The city and its insurers, as well as others, have been in litigation with both the condo corporation and 27 unit owners since September 2011.

Here is some key information about the city’s involvement with 2411 New St.:

  • The safety of all residents is a top concern. The city would take immediate steps to evacuate and make safe any structure that was at risk of collapse.
  • The building met all relevant building codes at the time it was constructed, and again when it was converted to a condo.
  • The building is structurally sound now, and not at risk of collapse. The engineer for the condo corporation and for the city both agree on this point.
  • The engineers also agree that the building can be brought into compliance with the current Ontario Building Code with repairs costing $670,000 to $770,000.
  • The city and others are currently in litigation with the condo corporation and a number of individual owners. This is working its way through the courts.
  • The city empathizes with the owners who are now faced with significant repair costs. The building has been poorly maintained over the years. The decision to defer necessary preventive maintenance was made by the condo corporation. In general, cities do not buy homes or other properties because the owners have chosen to delay necessary preventive maintenance and must face expensive repairs.
  • The building at 2411 New Street has been standing for more than 50 years without any sign of structural failure. The various professional engineers that have investigated the issue would have a professional obligation to alert the city of the threat of structural failure and the building would have been shut down.  None of the engineers took that action.

 

Communications contact:

Donna Kell

Manager of Communications

Office: 905-335-7600, ext. 7841

donna.kell@burlington.ca

Media contact:

James Ridge

City Manager

Office: 905-335-7600, ext. 7608

james.ridge@burlington.ca

 

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

10 Comments

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  1. I agree with Pete Clarke. The City should have nothing to do with this and should certainly not be spending any public money investigating any alternative possibilities. It is highly unlikely that there would be any consideration for any other privately owned 60 year old building which met code at time of building and does not meet current standards. The City should not engage in any ‘settlement’ discussion with the condo owners and ultimately, the owners should be required to reimburse the City for any costs which may become necessary.

  2. The city says that this building is now safe. If it did not meet minimum building code when it was built and has not significant repairs done how can it now be deemed as safe. Has an engineers study been done by the city to determine this? When someone buys a piece of real estate that was build under a building permit they should have the expectation that this building would meet the standard and be safe to live in. Why did the building inspector not stop the construction when the concrete slabs were poured at more than 2 inches lower than the minimum required? As the building inspector works for the city they should be held at responsible at for part of the loss these people are facing. Caviat Emptor does not apply to buying a building that was passed by a building inspector at the time of construction.

  3. It happens over and over again. A building has a finite life. This building is 60 years old. It is reaching the end of it’s life. Just Google “condo end-of-life” for a picture of what this condo-rich city will be facing when the current developers, planners, and councillors are just faded pictures on a wall.
    Condo corporations should be legally required to maintain a fund for the eventual retirement of the building. This would give some “real” value to the block of airspace the investment occupies. Of course it would add to the cost of the condo, but it would also guarantee the condo retained value, regardless of any mismanagement by successions of necessarily amateur board members.
    Saving $100 a month over the 60 year life of a building would net almost half a million $ for each owner, and could finance the construction of a new modern building, and the cost of housing the owners during the construction. Each owner would realize an immediate return on the investment, making this a net 0$ cost, and placing them in a high value building.
    No owner could say this was a cost, since the value of their property could not diminish during its life, unless it was truly badly maintained.
    The current sad reality seems to be someone will eventually get screwed in the life of a condo, and only then will they realize they have been sold a dream… not a reality.
    Expect a well heeled developer to swoop in and “save” these people by offering them peanuts, and then demolish the building and raise another tower of time-bombs, with the accompanying enormous profits and offloading of responsibility.

  4. I recall when the building was converted to condominiums as I used to walk past it quite a lot. The building looked A1 at that time. OF COURSE if things are not maintained they are not going to remain in prisine condition. Pictures of the building showing the condition of the balconies only reinforces the fact that the condominium corporation blew it when it came to maintenance and that the necessary normal repairs ballooned put of control by 2011 so that they started to look for a scape goat to deflect their shortcomings & have wasted all their money since on lawsuits. While I can understand the residents frustration, the deterioration of the building didn’t occur overnight – it took years – so put the blame where it belongs which is certainly NOT the city.

  5. While I support buyer beware – the purchasers of homes have a reasonable expectation that the building they are purchasing is safe and up to code. Unfortunately, the City’s assertion that 2411 New Street passed all “relevant codes” is incorrect. Nor, can the condo corporation do anything to repair the under code and slipping slabs that hold up the building. That’s a 12 million dollar exercise (in futility). The exterior of the building is in rough shape because the condo corporation had to remove all the loose balcony concrete to prevent it from falling on people below. The issue not maintenance, it’s structural. And, I find it offensive that the City, the Mayor, and the local councillor feel that it is appropriate to “blame the victims.”

    • There is no “reasonable expectation” that’s the whole point of ‘Caveat Emptor’. Pay for your own repairs, to your own private property, the taxpayers of Burlington have real issues to worry about.

  6. I wanted to add that what I should have said was perhaps over the years perhaps structural standards have changed from when the building was assessed.

  7. I am not an engineer, and certainly would not question the qualifications of the engineers involved, but it would not be the first time that engineers let things pass. Was there not a mall ( could be Thunder Bay) where the roof collapsed and killed one person, yet the building had passed engineer inspection?

    Every time I pass by this building I wonder why anybody would live there, unless they had no other choice.

  8. Caveat Emptor. Please do not involve our municipal government in issues relating to the fiscal management of private property. That is neither the government’s mandate nor responsibility.

    • Caveat Emptor. Please do not involve our municipal government in issues relating to the fiscal management of private property. That is neither the government’s mandate nor responsibility.

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