No timeline given to residents of ‘structurally unsafe’ Fort Saskatchewan condo

Click to play video 'Residents of evacuated Fort Saskatchewan condo complex face more uncertainty' Residents of evacuated Fort Saskatchewan condo complex face more uncertainty
WATCH ABOVE: There are still no firm answers about what's next for an evacuated condo complex in Fort Saskatchewan. Vinesh Pratap reports. – Aug 12, 2019

Residents of a Fort Saskatchewan condo who were given 30 minutes to evacuate their suites earlier this month when the building was deemed unsafe heard an update Sunday.

However, no timeline for a possible return date was given.

On Aug. 2, people living in Riverview Estates were told to grab essentials and leave immediately. An engineer had determined the four-storey, 44-suite condo building was “structurally unsafe.” A preliminary investigation found a number of floor joists were damaged or improperly constructed. The full extent of the issue — and risk — was not known at that time.

READ MORE: Fort Saskatchewan condo deemed ‘structurally unsafe,’ building evacuated

On Sunday evening, residents gathered for a meeting, which included condo owners, renters and representatives from the condo board.

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“The actual construction of the building did not match the blueprints of the original design,” owner Frank Gerritsen shared.

While he was hoping for more answers, Gerritsen was happy the lines of communication are open and updates are being passed on.

“I wasn’t expecting much but there was a lot of information that was shared with the tenants and the owners through engineers and the legal counsel that the condo board has retained,” he said.

“I don’t expect an answer to a question that they don’t have the information on. Engineers are going to be continuing to go through the process of going through the building. They have been working on it, shoring up some areas of the building.

“As they proceed, they will decide… can they save the building? It’s not at that point yet. How long will it take before people can actually go back into the building?”

An engineering report, which could outline the next steps, is expected by Friday.

Watch below (Aug. 2): A four-storey condo building in Fort Saskatchewan evacuated Friday morning after engineers determined it was structurally unsafe. Sarah Komadina reports.

Click to play video 'Condo building in Fort Saskatchewan evacuated' Condo building in Fort Saskatchewan evacuated
Condo building in Fort Saskatchewan evacuated – Aug 2, 2019

The condo corporation has promised to provide weekly updates to residents.

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“Stressful? Sure,” Gerritsen said. “I’ll admit I’m one of the lucky ones. I wasn’t actually displaced. I have a renter. So, I’m concerned about her. There’s still a lot of questions. I would love to give her an answer of when can you go back in?

“I just want my tenant to know… does she have a home? Does she have to look for another place?”

Gerritsen said legal counsel was also present at Sunday’s meeting.

“Once the time is right, we’ll be pursuing that,” he said. “If there [are] lawsuits down the road, those take years. The most important thing is getting people back into their homes.”

Hugh Willis, the condo corporation’s lawyer, said the most urgent issue is establishing some windows of time during which residents can safely return and gather belongings.

“Parallel with that, we’re working on some solutions with the engineers to see how fast we can get people reoccupied but it’s certainly a process,” Willis said.

“There’s an engineering component, there’s discussions with the city. It’s not something that we can even provide a guess on the timeline right now.

“There [are] deficiencies in construction and we need to have the conclusions from the engineer report.”
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Owners and tenants were given the opportunity to submit questions ahead of the meeting.

Willis said there will be more meetings and people will be provided with more information as it becomes available.