Saturday, June 06, 2009

From the Maple Ridge Concerned Citizens

Today June 6th should have a been a big day for Maple Ridge, not just the community of Haney, but the city as a whole. Unfortunately the situation at Northumberland Court is eerily like it was in 2006. Like in 2006 we have Athwal saying he doesn't care, tear down the burnt out building, and then there is Mike Kwasnica who owns two suites at Northumberland (neither of them in the burnt out building), saying the building can be saved. Anyone that has been following this situation knows well enough that Athwal will never repair that building. Those that doubt this take the time to research the feud between Athwal and the city over Morse Creek.

Going by Mayor Daykin's comments in the local papers there is still a plan by the city to see that the remedial actions imposed by the city will be followed through. Hopefully this will be the case. The difference between now and 2006 though is the MRCCC is hopeful that the community does not let council or staff forget what they have said in council chambers and what the staff has said in their written public reports.

For this reason we are hopeful to get a good turn out to the council meeting on June 9th, which begins at 7pm. There are the usual type of agenda items being discussed that require various requirement agreements and change in covenants so unless something comes out of the blue this should be a fairly straight forward meeting.

Because the case of Northumberland Court is again before the courts all members of the public that don't want this issue pushed to the side and forgotten by council and staff should make the effort to appear on June 9th to ask questions as to what is the current plan for the court case and what is the future plan for Northumberland as a whole. Questions from the public can occur during agenda item number 1800 'questions from the public.' Everyone is encourage to come out and ask whatever questions are on their mind and if you don't have a specific question but would like to contribute to a long term solution some example questions are below.

- Given that the chief of the fire department has stated that in the event of a fire, neither he nor his crew will enter building 11731, also known as the burnt out building, and given that the demolition of this structure is again tied up in court, will the city erect proper fencing around the building to ensure that it is not entered and occupied? Yes or No

- Given the condition of building 11731 Fraser St, also known as the burnt out building, and given that the chief of the fire department stated in these chambers that he, nor his crew will enter the building in the event of a fire has the city taken out extra liability insurance in the event someone is injured or killed in the building should it once again go up in flames? Yes or No

- Has the city been in touch with the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance to prepare for the possibility that the remedial repairs ordered by the city on the buildings at Northumberland Court will not be completed by the due date and for this reason there will be residents who will be left living in substandard housing that according to city staff reports leaves occupants in danger of respiratory problems, fire hazards and structural collapse? Yes or No

- To ensure public confidence in this process regarding the condition of the buildings at Northumberland Court will the city publish a complete schedule showing that all remedial repairs, as out lined by staff reports, have been completed, and where necessary completed by a certified professional? Yes or No

- In December 08 building number 20639 Maple Crescent was damaged by heavy snow falls, this building had tenants that had to vacate due to concerns about the structural integrity of the building. The tenants were given accommodation through Maple Ridge Emergency Social Services and Alouette Home Start Society. Given that the city staff reports issued in March and April regarding the condition of the buildings at Northumberland Court and the level of remedial repairs required at most of the buildings has the city of Maple Ridge offered the same services to those tenants who are renting at Northumberland? Yes or No

- Recently a historical building at 20639 Maple Crescent was deemed uninhabitable and demolished, given that staff reports presented to council though the months of March and April have statements regarding Northumberland Court buildings that read as follows: “Due to water ingress into the building at the exterior grade line the structural integrity of the buildings and its structural components are deteriorating to the point where repairs must be performed to prevent collapse of the building and harm to the buildings occupants.” These same reports also stated that 11701unit 13 – Load Bearing wall has been removed 11723 unit 6 – floor joists removed. Please explain the difference between these two instances and whether the city take the same decisive action regarding the buildings at Northumberland Court? Yes or No

- Staff reports regarding the state of repair of a number of suites at Northumberland Court included several mentions of mold on drywall and in crawl spaces, along with mentions of stagnate water and sewer water being found within buildings and also within building crawl spaces. My question will the city ensure the air quality in these structures is breathable and will not cause other health issues be testing the air quality of these buildings? Yes or No

- Mr Mayor could you, or a member of staff please explain the difference between the building at 20639 Maple Crescent and the danger it posed to its inhabitants and why it was so quickly vacated and why the buildings at Northumberland Court that according to staff reports are also facing structural collapse have not been vacated?

MRCCC should be sending out another update on Monday regarding the court case itself. To date, nothing is posted on the BC Civil Court site. An inquiry to the court found that the courts posting system is currently four weeks behind. Whether this means that the court case is then four weeks behind and for this reason it might be the case that it could be months before this is heard by a judge. All the more reason to speak up to council and question what is happening now and what will happen next, and most importantly are council and staff ready and willing to act.

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