August 24, 2018 11:55 am

Toronto condo residents irate over elevator repair delays in 40-floor building

A modern, downtown Toronto condominium residence has only one of its four elevators functioning. The building's other three elevators may be out of service for six weeks, leaving the people living in 395 units with long waits or hundreds of steps to walk to get to and from their units. Sean O'Shea reports.

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Climbing stairs make for great exercise if you’re capable — but imagine having to lug groceries up and down as many as 40 flights of steps because there’s no working elevator or the delay is long.

That’s the problem affecting one residential condominium building in downtown Toronto, which may have only one working elevator for six weeks.

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“It’s frustrating at a minimum, it’s dangerous,” said Jason Thomas, a Toronto voice actor who lives on the 39th floor of the Infinity building at 30 Grand Trunk, a few blocks from the Rogers Centre.

“Everybody in this building is being taken hostage by somebody,” Thomas said, describing living conditions in the building functioning without three of its four elevators, including the service lift.

READ MORE: Men trapped in Toronto elevator during flash flood ‘prayed,’ vowed to get out ‘no matter what’

“I don’t know how you’re going to get a couch in there,” Thomas said, questioning how tenants will be able to move in or out without the use of the elevator designed for freight. The end of August is one of the busiest moving periods in Toronto.

After initially saying no one could use the elevator to move furniture, the management company changed its policy and is now going to allow moves in one-hour increments outside of peak periods.

The building, which has 395 units, sustained heavy flood damage on August 7, at which point it was left with only one working elevator. Even that elevator has not been consistently operating.

“We were out of elevators entirely for three days,” Thomas explained, noting that management has asked residents to limit the number of occupants in the elevator to no more than 10. In addition, residents are being asked to use the stairs instead, when possible.

When will the elevators be back in service? There’s no clear answer.

READ MORE: Paralyzed Calgary man says broken elevator means he’s confined to condo

“Please be advised that this matter is a top priority for the corporation and the management,” wrote Jeronim Dyrmishi, senior executive property manager with Icon Property Management, which is responsible for maintenance and operations of the condominium building.

“We are diligently working with the corporation’s insurance and all other parties involved to have all elevators up and running as soon as possible,” Dyrmishi said in an email.

In a telephone call with the company’s CEO, Wes Posthumus said in the past, management companies have been held hostage by elevator contracting companies.

A representative from the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association, which represents independent elevator contractors and vertical lift suppliers, said it’s not unusual for some parts, including motors, to take 12 weeks to arrive in Canada from Asia, where most are manufactured.

READ MORE: Volunteers rally to help family of worker burned in grain elevator fire

Earlier this year, The Canadian Press found growing issues with elevator outages around the country. Figures obtained by CP showed Ontario firefighters responded to 4,577 calls by people trapped in elevators in 2016.

Other buildings in the vicinity of the Infinity building are also dealing with reduced elevator capability following the flooding in Toronto.

For Thomas, who frequently wears a knee-brace, climbing stairs has inflamed a previous injury. Worse, he says, is concern that with only one elevator servicing 40 floors of residents, their only elevator may get overworked and break down again.

“It can go down at any moment, we don’t know. It’s nerve-racking.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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