Filling the Capital Pointe hole will soon become a reality as the City of Regina awarded a contract to CBS Contracting Inc. to backfill the construction site at the corner of Victoria Avenue and Albert Street.
Work will start in June and is expected to take until October to complete, with a price tag of $2.9 million.
The city will add the costs to the property tax roll of the parcel of land owned by Westgate Properties Ltd.
“We will protect the taxpayers money as much as possible it will be on their tax roll and we will do everything we can to collect that money,” Mayor Micheal Fougere said.
“It could easily be that the creditors are paid when someone purchases that land and we are at the top of the list to be paid.”
According to lawyer and partner with Kanuka Thuringer Marc Kelly, the city could also seize the property through a technical process as a last resort.
“Ultimately, if everything goes through they would take ownership of it and sell it,” Kelly said. “Obviously, they would have to elect to do some of those things.”
If Westgate declared bankruptcy it would create challenges, but Kelly says right now it’s pure speculation.
“Bankruptcy legislation and insolvency legislation is federal and there are issues about how it interacts with the provincial tax enforcement,” Kelly said. “So I don’t think there’s great clarity on it, but it definitely causes some problems in terms of the process.”
Construction on the Capital Pointe project stopped in July 2017, leaving an open hole at the site. Under the Uniform Building and Accessibility Standards Act, a city building official issued an order to Westgate to backfill the site. However, Westgate appealed the order to the Saskatchewan Building and Accessibility Standards Appeal Board.
Following a public hearing on Feb. 4, the appeal board rendered the site unsafe and ordered the property owner to backfill the site by March 30, 2019, but Westgate failed to comply.
As a result, the city became authorized on March 31 to complete the back fill.
The city says backfilling the site will restore it to a safe condition and reinstate access to public infrastructure, such as the roads and sidewalks around the property.
Remediation of the site will include backfilling the excavation, removal of the shoring, facilities and other debris from the site, repairing a storm min on Victoria Avenue and repairs to the roadway wand sidewalks adjacent to the site.