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Charlottetown's planning chair says permit at heart of Water Street apartment issue

The eviction process can take three to six months in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to Krown Property Management, leaving landlords in the red. The Residential Tenancies Act hasn’t been updated since 2000.
Residents of a downtown Charlottetown apartment building received eviction notices on Feb. 19, 2020, along with other documents, stating that the building owner intends on renovating and wants the residents out by April 30. - Stock photo
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The chairman of Charlottetown’s planning and heritage committee says there are no winners when it comes to renovictions.

Coun. Greg Rivard was commenting Friday on news that nine residents in an apartment building at 24 Water St. recently received eviction notices because the owner says there is asbestos in the plaster walls and wants to do renovations as well as construct a new building next door at 7 Pownal St.

The problem is, the city can’t grant the permit for the new building until the situation with the existing building is dealt with.

“This is certainly a difficult situation in which no one wins,’’ Rivard said. “I have spoken with the applicant and it’s my understanding that there was never a plan or desire to relocate anyone but because of the national building code requirement, the city was unable to issue any permits for the new building because of the safety issues next door.’’

Greg Rivard
Greg Rivard

The residents received eviction notices on Feb. 19, along with other documents, stating that the building owner intends on renovating and wants the residents out by April 30.

When Rivard refers to the applicant he is referring to an application for a new building next to the existing apartment at 24 Water St.

The building is located on the south side of the Water and Pownal streets intersection, next to the harbourside access road to the Charlottetown Yacht Club.

The Guardian has learned that one of the nine tenants has found alternate accommodations but the three residents who spoke to The Guardian said while they have been looking for a place to live, it’s hard to find anything they can afford. All want to return to their Water Street apartment when renovations are completed but Dylan Menzie, one of the residents, said he was told they probably won’t be able to afford the new rent.

Another resident said he’d be OK with an increase, as long as it’s reasonable.

Rivard said under requirements of the national building code, there are a number of upgrades that need to be done to the existing property before the city can grant a permit for a new building.

“Again, I don’t get the sense that the developer was aware (of the requirements) which has led to an unfortunate situation for all parties,’’ the councillor said.

He added that details of what parts of the national building code need to be satisfied would be better answered by the city’s safety inspectors but Rivard did say that national building codes and fire codes are not something the city can work around.

“They must be adhered to.’’

Rivard said after speaking to the applicant he didn’t get the impression this was the direction the developer wanted to take for many reasons, including cost of the work, but most importantly having to displace the residents.

“I am told they are working with the residents to assist in finding them new places to live.’’

Rivard also said that when these units return to the market, they will be returned to the long-term rental market.

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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