Tour of Dawes Rd. apartment building shows renovations

The hallways have been recarpeted. New light fixtures are installed on every floor of the 14-floor apartment building. Graffiti seems to be at a minimum and even the outdoor parking lot is sporting new paving and white paint.

But the recent renovations just scratch the surface on what needs to be done at 500 Dawes Rd., says Councillor Janet Davis.

The apartment building still has outstanding work orders issued by the city’s Municipal and Licensing Services bylaw officers.

Failing to complete several renovations, the city is taking the landlord, Carolyn Krebs of Havcare Investments Ltd. — owner of both 500 and neighbouring 608 Dawes Rd. — to court. The court case will begin in the new year.

Krebs goes by the name “Mrs. Linton” in these business affairs.

When asked why she goes by a different name, she laughed and said she would explain why when the controversy is over.

The work that has been completed, said Davis, is only in the common areas of the building, which includes the foyer, hallways and both outdoor and underground parking lots. The apartment units themselves, she said, are a different story.

On the city’s MLS website, 27 orders are listed, three of which are outstanding. The second floor elevator isn’t certified in good working order. The bathroom walls and ceilings aren’t maintained clean and free of holes and cracks in one apartment.

A structural engineering study still hasn’t been done. And Davis said that when she toured the building on Dec. 1 with MPP Michael Prue water was flowing into the basement.

Building 608 Dawes Rd. follows a similar suit with 19 orders, eight of which are still active.

“They have completed some work and I’m sure the residents are happy about that,” said Davis. “There are still are dozens of suites with problems.”

As well, 30 trees on the property have been torn down. Under the city’s Private Tree bylaw, which regulates the removal of privately owned trees measuring 30 cm in diameter or more, owners re-quire a permit to remove trees. Four of the 30 trees that were removed at 500 Dawes Rd. were more than 30 cm in diameter, said Davis.

“Two out of the four trees the owner claimed were dead and dying,” she said. “(The other two) the owner said they don’t know what happened to them.”

Davis said she will take the issue to the city’s forestry department.

“When Prue and I met with Mrs. Linton in December we stressed the importance of developing a working relationship with the tenants’ association in the building,” Davis said.

The relationship is clearly not good, she added.

That strained relationship is visible when touring the building. Before a scheduled tour with Linton on Dec. 4, the Town Crier met with several residents to see what their thoughts were on the renovations.

“The witch is coming,” said one middle age tenant when he saw Linton coming into the building.

The tenant, who didn’t want his name published, alleged he has been hired by Linton to do some of the maintenance work on the building.

“Things are getting done because (Linton) has been forced into it,” he said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.”

As well, a no smoking sign in one of the apartment’s elevators was vandalized with graffiti saying “Mrs. Linton eats poo poo”.

Earlier in the year tenants reported cockroaches, dog feces in the elevators, mould and going for days without hot water in their apartment building. A visit in late April confirmed those complaints.

However according to Linton, her relationship with the majority of tenants couldn’t be better.

“The tenants have been very happy with the work that we’ve done,” she said during the tour. “There is new carpeting on all 14 floors.

“We’ve repainted all 14 floors. We’ve changed every light.”

Linton insisted she hasn’t been forced by the city to do the work. Rather, she had been planning to do the renovations for the past few years.

“Compared to other buildings the conditions here aren’t so bad,” Linton argued, adding she has spent at least $100,000 on the repairs.

Davis, however, sees things differently.

“Residents have the right to get maintenance problems addressed quickly,” she said.