It has been nearly two years since Massey Manor swung open its doors, yet three apartments in the affordable housing complex still remain vacant.
Two of the fourth-floor units sustained water damage while the third, also on the fourth floor, needs a ramp and automatic doors installed, according to Manitoba Housing and Community Development.
According to a department spokesperson, the water damage repairs on the two apartments are scheduled to be completed by early June and it’s not yet known when the ramp and automatic doors can be completed in the other unit.
The government did not provide the cost of the water damage, but said repairs to the building located on Pacific Avenue and Seventh Street will be covered by an insurance claim.
The cost of the accessibility upgrades to the third unit has not been finalized and will be paid for by the province.
“Of 14 homes on the fourth floor, seven are occupied and three have tentatively been rented,” the spokesperson stated in an email to the Sun recently. “The building has required some recent repairs and as a result, three units are not yet ready for occupancy, but soon will be.
“Right now, only one unit is vacant and available for occupancy. These are homes which offer rent geared-to-income.”
Fourth floor property manager, Connie Hagyard, directed inquiries to the province’s public affairs branch, however, the government did not provide an interview with the Sun.
Canadian Mental Health Association regional manager Glen Kruk said the delay to fix the issues in the units is likely due to the fourth floor changing hands from the now-shuttered Brandon chapter of Habitat for Humanity to Manitoba Housing.
The building, which was funded by all three levels of government, was taken on by three local organizations — CMHA, Brandon Friendship Centre and Habitat for Humanity Brandon. Habitat has since reintroduced itself into Brandon.
The CMHA owns 25 units on the first and second floor and five units on the first floor are used for emergency shelters for the homeless. The Brandon Friendship Centre has 14 units on the second floor rented to low- to moderate-income aboriginal households.
Habitat for Humanity Brandon was originally set to own the top floor, 14 condominium units that were set to be sold to moderate-income families who qualified for a mortgage to purchase the units.
But Habitat Brandon shuttered after 17 years after the organization’s national office said minimum operating standards were not being met and the fourth floor was taken over by Manitoba Housing.
Kruk said the water damage was due to a roof overhang which wasn’t redone when the building, formerly the Massey Harris building, went through redevelopment.
“That piece hadn’t been done because it was just hanging over a sidewalk,” he said. “But water would, on a strong wind, go underneath it and flow underneath the new roof, so it was just an error in the roof repairs.”
Meanwhile, Kruk said he’s planning an official grand opening for the building which has already been open since September 2012.
“We really have to show off this building,” he said. “We had a rough start ... but it is really turning a lot of people’s lives around because it’s good, solid, affordable housing and man is it beautiful.”
The grand opening isn't scheduled yet, but Kruk said it’ll likely happen sometime in the summer.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 26, 2014