A celebrity builder is on his way to Winnipeg to put his stamp of approval on a controversial urban condo development this weekend.
Home improvement guru Mike Holmes is scheduled to be at an open house at a massive Fort Rouge development.
The Yards condo development is a large in-fill project that runs alongside the main CN line and near the city’s rapid transit corridor.
Holmes is a partner in the development and will inspect the workmanship as the condos are built.
But some residents in the area aren’t happy he’s involved in a project associated with local developer GEM Equities.
“We’d ask [Holmes] to be respectful to our community and ask him why he’s upending his really good reputation by associating himself with such a controversial developer,” said area resident Bev Pike.
Andrew Marquess owns B&M Lands and GEM Equities. His companies have both faced numerous civil suits and have been the subject of many complaints to the Residential Tenancies Branch.
A court registry shows he has settled all of the law suits filed against him, and according to Marquess, those problems are behind him.
“It was a difficult period of time for us,” he said. “Many businesses have ups and downs. We had ups and downs, and we’re moving forward.”
But Pike said it’s not just the legal difficulties that concern area residents. Pike said residents are worried about traffic, a loss of green space and the height of the development.
“We haven’t been satisfied with the public consultations. They’ve been marketing sessions. They’ve not been genuine consultations where people sit down and share ideas back and forth,” said Pike.
But Marquess said a lot of effort has been made to include area residents in the process.
“We’ve reached out to a certain small group after the public consultations and zoning process were complete,” he said. “[We] tried to listen to their concerns about traffic and traffic during construction.”
Holmes is scheduled to appear on Saturday, and will inspect the workmanship as the condos are built. Residents are hoping he will lend an ear about their concerns, and Marquess is banking on Holmes’ reputation will help keep things moving forward smoothly.