Penticton council has dug in its heels in forcing the owner of Winnipeg Manor rooming house to conduct upgrades on the property by placing a notice on title.
Ken Kunka, building and permitting manager for the city, updated council Tuesday by noting progress was being made, but “the case history would support a notice on title.” Dennis Hildebrand, the owner of the boarding house at 597 Winnipeg St., told council he had applied for a building permit Tuesday to legally finish construction on basement upgrades that include fire suppression walls and electrical upgrades that would make it safe for occupation. Architect drawings had been submitted to the city as well.
“I have a business licence for 11 occupants in 11 rooms. The property remediation report outlines a reduction to eight occupants, and I approve of that,” he said. “I would plead with council not to put a notice on my title … I can assure you that the building will be brought up to code as ordered.”
Hildebrand said that he was told it would take a month and a half to receive the building permit, and soon after he could have the work completed.
“If that building permit could be expedited, it could be completed a lot sooner,” he said. Kunka said that the permit could likely be issued in less time. Notice on title might jeopardize cash flow for repairs.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to suspend my business licence. We’re working on getting the financing for the project to go ahead,” he said.
Coun. Judy Sentes mused whether placing a notice on title would impact the owner’s ability to get financing to complete repairs, until Hildebrand cut her off: “In fact, I know it will.”
“Bear in mind we have been twice burned. Your word is suspect, I’m afraid to say,” Sentes said.
She suggested an extension should be granted for one month to allow Hildebrand to make progress and show he was willing to comply. In that time, she suggested, city officials would be allowed to make inspections with one-hour notice to ensure people were not living in the basement — which was the main area of concern in terms of resident safety. City manager Annette Antoniak said staff invited Hildebrand to a meeting earlier this summer to discuss what work could be done at the house, but the owner did not show up. “I’ve been very concerned about compliance,” she said.
Council ultimately decided to move forward with a notice on Hildebrand’s title, which generally can be removed after an inspection shows repairs are completed and an application is filed with the city.