Mould, ro­dents, fire safety add $3.2M to shel­ter

StarMetro Toronto - - TORONTO - Emily Mathieu AF­FORD­ABLE HOUS­ING RE­PORTER thes­tar.com/opin­ion

The city will be forced to pay an ex­tra $3.2 mil­lion to con­vert a Kingston Rd. mo­tel into an emer­gency shel­ter af­ter “un­fore­seen” is­sues with mould, ro­dent in­fes­ta­tion and fire safety were un­cov­ered dur­ing con­struc­tion, says a re­port from city staff.

“Dur­ing ren­o­va­tions, it was de­ter­mined that the site re­quired ex­ten­sive re­me­dial work due to site con­di­tions that could not have been fore­seen prior to pur­chase,” staff from fa­cil­i­ties man­age­ment and pur­chas­ing wrote in a re­port alert­ing coun­cil that the “emer­gency non- com­pet­i­tive” con­tract was is­sued in late Novem­ber to tackle the ur­gent prob­lems.

The over­haul was un­der­way at the for­mer Com­fort Inn, near Bel­lamy Rd., when the ex­tent of the ro­dent, fire and mould is­sues were dis­cov- ered. They also found “low qual­ity or in­suf­fi­cient” ma­sonry, “orig­i­nal con­struc­tion that was not com­pleted to code,” and an in­suf­fi­cient “do­mes­tic and fire wa­ter sup­ply,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Steel­core Con­struc­tion Ltd. won the bid and was awarded a con­tract with a net value of $8.7 mil­lion in early 2018, and con­struc­tion be­gan shortly af­ter, staff re­ported.

Coun­cil­lor Gary Craw­ford, who fought for the pur­chase and con­ver­sion of the prop­erty, said it was al­ways un­der­stood the fi­nal cost would be higher. The shel­ter is be­ing funded as part of a plan to re­de­velop Ge­orge St., in­clud­ing the raz­ing and re­place­ment of Seaton House.

“We knew that there would be ad­di­tional work re­quired once we took pos­ses­sion,” Craw­ford told the Star Mon­day. “Un­til you ac­tu­ally take the walls down, you don’t know the full ex­tent.”

There were some “sur­prises,” he con­ceded, and sig­nif­i­cant work was needed on the wa­ter main con­nec­tion. A build­ing con­di­tion as­sess­ment, a sur­vey to de­tect toxic sub­stances and an en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment were con­ducted prior to pur­chase, city staff confirmed.

Coun­cil­lor Gary Craw­ford fought for the pur­chase and con­ver­sion of the prop­erty.

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