Owners decide fate of unsafe Fort McMurray condos
More than 300 residents evacuated from their Fort McMurray condos six months ago are voting whether to rebuild or abandon the Penhorwood complex.
"The entire system has failed the owners," said Christine Burton, president of the Penhorwood condo association. "All the safeguards that were in place to protect home owners and their investment failed."
Christine Burton spent part of her Thanksgiving Monday visiting where she lived for 16 years.
Residents were forced out on a cold March night after inspectors deemed the 168-unit condo complex structurally unsound.
The condos are now boarded up as owners begin voting what few options they have left.
They can choose to tear down the buildings and sell the land, although that would not be enough to cover mortgages for many.
They can choose to attempt to repair the buildings or they can rebuild — now or after a $60-million dollar lawsuit is settled.
"It was so comfy and nice," said owner Aruna Baker who is voting to rebuild. "I loved it."
Baker and her husband, like many other owners, lost their life savings along with their home.
The couple was forced to send their infant daughter to Montreal to live after they were evacuated.
"Today I'm just like, 'Don't ever buy a condo. Don't ever buy a condo.'"
The Penhorwood Condo association is suing several different organizations including builder Dave Marshall, who said he feels no responsibility whatsoever.
Marshall said his offer to repair the problems was ignored by the condo association.
"From my side, the only thing I would acknowledge is a problem are the floor joists, which is why we offered to fix them," he said.
Condo owners, who now live across the province and elsewhere in Canada, have until Oct. 17th to vote electronically.