Return of displaced 650 Parliament tenants delayed until next year
Bryann Aguilar, CP24.com
Published Friday, November 8, 2019 5:04PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 8, 2019 7:36PM EST
Displaced tenants of a St. James Town highrise where a six-alarm blaze broke out last year will have to wait until next year to return to the building.
“Clearly, we are getting closer, and hope to announce re-occupancy details early in the New Year,” Wellesley Parliament Square, the management company for the building, said in a statement posted on their website Friday.
The company said the re-occupancy of the building will be a “complex procedure.”
The delay comes after several postponements for the reoccupation of the building. Residents were initially informed that they would be able to move back into their units in early 2019.
In August, WPSQ said a November return date was likeliest with 64 per cent of the work being completed.
The Aug. 21, 2018 fire at 650 Parliament Street caused significant damage to the building’s electrical system, displacing an estimated 1,500 tenants.
A spokesperson for the management previously said the cost of repairs is estimated to be about $50 to $60 million, with another $13 million for tenant assistance.
"I am very frustrated," said Mark Slapinski, one of the residents displaced who has moved six different times.
"I can tell you there's a lot of residents that wanted to go home for Christmas and the holidays."
Slapinski said he is upset that there is no clear timeline from the management on when they can get back.
"It's just more bad news on top of more bad news and it just takes its toll for awhile," Slapinksi said.
According to the latest update, the reconstruction is in the final stages of cosmetic work, which includes painting, tiling and carpeting.
The large and difficult part, which is the rebuilding of the mechanical and electrical systems, has been completed, the statement said.
“Most of our onsite construction trailers have been removed from the site, our exterior work is completed, and we would hope you would agree that from the outside, 650 is once again starting to look like home,” said the management.
The management have also met with city officials to discuss the necessary steps to obtain a re-occupancy permit and the protocols that will need to be put in place to ensure a safe return of tenants.
“Toronto City officials have given us every confidence that they will provide the resources to allow us to secure the necessary approvals and permits required, as soon as possible.”
In September the Ontario Fire Marshal said the massive fire was caused by an electrical failure that led to an explosion in the electrical room.