Growing problems at highrise

 

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo Residents of the highrise in Hay River have been warned by the building's owner to stay away from their balconies, due to a potential safety concern. This is the latest of a series of problem plauging the 17-storey building.

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo
Residents of the highrise in Hay River have been warned by the building’s owner to stay away from their balconies, due to a potential safety concern. This is the latest of a series of problem plauging the 17-storey building.

Mackenzie Place highrise residents were confronted with a notice taped to the front door last Friday advising them to not go onto their balconies because they were unstable.

“There have been some concerns about the balconies for the last few years,” Harry Satdeo, the building’s owner told The Hub on Friday. “A few have been cracking at the edges.”

Satdeo said the notice to tenants was a preventative measure and that further inspections have been planned. A Yellowknife engineering firm, he said, had been contracted to conduct those inspections over the course of the next few months.

“In the meantime, tenants are advised to not use their balconies,” Satdeo said, adding that the notice was not put up as a result of an inspection by fire chief Ross Potter on behalf of the NWT Fire Marshal’s office two days prior.

This is the latest in a series of problems in the building including not having a working fire alarm since February.

“A tenant caused water damage and it fried the panel,” said Satdeo.

Potter worked with Satdeo to ensure a temporary system was put in place, adding two smoke detectors to the hallways on each of the building’s 17 floors. In addition to the smoke detectors, Satdeo has had staff monitoring the hallways every hour of the day since February, he explained.

“It’s cost me $80,000 in staff so far,” he said.

Satdeo said he had contracted the same Yellowknife engineering firm, Williams Engineering Canada Inc., to assess the situation for a new fire alarm and panel in June and that he was only waiting on approval from the Office of the Fire Marshal of the resulting plan before moving forward. He told The Hub Monday afternoon he had not heard back from that office.

NWT Fire Marshal Chucker Dewar, however, told The Hub Monday there were no such approvals before him.

“There is nothing pending at the Office of the Fire Marshal with regards to Mackenzie Place highrise,” Dewar said. “That means one of two things: either we’ve made a decision and it’s sent off, or nothing was ever submitted to us.”

Dewar said his office is not at liberty to discuss active files, but did note the NWT Fire Prevention Act requires building owners in the territory to maintain certain safety code standards and that the same act gives the fire marshal the authority to inspect buildings, which “sometimes leads to an enforcement action.”

“We prefer to educate and work with building owners, but sometimes we issue an order. But that’s the last thing we want to do,” he said.

“We’re working closely with the building’s owner as well as local officials to make sure residents are safe.”

-Sarah Ladik