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City of Regina legally obligated in granting new Capital Pointe building permit

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Capital Pointe has seen its share of development pitfalls over the past seven years – from redesigns to new owners. Now, the $70 million hotel and condo complex is moving to its next stage of construction. Or is it? David Baxter has more on what may be next for the beleaguered project – Sep 18, 2017

The City of Regina has issued a new building permit for the much delayed Capital Pointe to Westgate Properties. The new permit is for the construction of the hotel and condominium’s foundation.

The permit for the excavation and shoring expired on Friday, the same day this new permit was issued, according to City of Regina director of development services Louise Folk.

“The permit was reviewed and it met all requirements in terms of the national building code,” she said.

“There was a development permit in place, and as long as the development permit is in place the city needs to accept, review, and then is legally obligated to issue the permit.”

This new permit has a two year timeframe, but the city has the authority to declare the permit is expired if “meaningful construction” has not begun within six months.

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“We’d have to see active work toward the foundation being put in place for the building,” Folk replied when asked to define meaningful construction.

Folk added that the developer has expressed that they wish to begin work on the next phase as soon as possible.

Global News reached out to Fortress Real Development, a partner in Capital Pointe, for comment on the status on the new contract several times Monday. We have yet to receive a reply.

READ MORE: Seven years later and the Capital Pointe project still not off the ground

Fortress CEO Jawad Rathore was in Regina for the 2015 ground breaking of the $70 million tower. At the time, he anticipated the project would be at ground level by July 2017. A Fortress spokesperson said the project would be completed in spring 2019.

At the groundbreaking Rathore said they hoped to complete Capital Pointe in late 2018.

Ward Two City Councillor Bob Hawkins voiced his frustration about the direction of the project after hearing Monday’s announcement.

“I understand that the city was legally bound to issue that permit, but what I can’t accept is that we don’t have the necessary bylaws and restrictions in place to stop this kind on uncontainable delay,” Hawkins said.

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READ MORE: Contractors remove equipment from Capital Pointe construction site in Regina

Hawkins wants to see a new bylaw put in place that would place limits on the current practice of having open ended development permits that would ensure projects are completed within a reasonable timeframe.

These discussions have been taking place, according to Hawkins.

“Perhaps we’re going to have to require that something be before council in a much more timely fashion, so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen in the future and so this particular project will face more realistic time to completion deadlines,” he said.

Hawkins stressed there is nothing wrong with major projects using staged building permits, which is common, but he is fed up with repeated delays at Capital Pointe.

“What’s wrong with what’s happening here, is seeing a project of this type taking seven years. You don’t need that much staging to complete this kind of project,” Hawkins said.

Before any bylaw change goes before city council, it would have to be discussed at their executive committee or the city’s planning commission. However, Hawkins is not a member of the latter.

Hawkins said at this point he cannot say when he would bring the item before committee, but will be speaking with other councilors about establishing a motion.

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