'It’s getting ridiculous:' Displaced 650 Parliament tenants on move-in date delays
Tenants displaced from a St. James Town highrise after a fire nine months ago are expressing their frustration after their move-in dates have been pushed back yet again.
On Wednesday, building management for 650 Parliament Street issued a notice to residents saying that the fire caused “unprecedented damage” and that they would be unable to provide a timeline for tenants to return to their apartments.
“I just don’t know what to make of it,” said eight-year tenant Mark Slapinski. “It’s getting kind of ridiculous.”
More than 1,500 residents of 650 Parliament Street were forced from their homes after an electrical box in the basement of the building caught fire on Aug. 21, 2018. The six-alarm blaze caused significant damage to the building’s electrical system.
Initially, building management said that residents would be able to return to their apartments in early 2019, but that date was later pushed to at least August.
The notice issued on Wednesday said re-occupancy may not occur until fall 2019.
Slapinski said that he is frustrated with the uncertainty of the situation.
“I mean I want to go back,” he told CTV News Toronto. “A lot of people want to go back and this just makes things harder for us at this point. The updates only come once in a while, they’re very vague and don’t really give us much of an answer.”
The son of a woman who lived at 650 Parliament Street said that while he understands there may be delays in construction, the lack of communication is unacceptable.
“They keep pushing the date back,” Sam Hughes said. “We are just looking for more confirmed dates to say this is when you can actually come in.”
Building management has said that they are working with the courts in order to get tenants back in the building to collect their belongings.
“The big priority right now is to address tenant contents, the removal and return of those contents,” said Danny Roth, a spokesperson for the building management company. “That’s the big thing that has to happen before we can get into the units.”
In the notice, building management said that a hearing will be held a month from now to determine a “fair procedure to remove and return the contents to residents.” The hearing will also approve a potential offer for compensation regarding items damaged by the fire.
Tenants will receive legal documents by mail prior to the hearing, management said.
Roth said that the management company has helped displaced residents find temporary accommodations “for just about every one of our tenants.”
“We are very proud of that,” he said.
With files from CTV News Toronto's Miranda Anthistle