Toronto

'Talking to a wall': Residents of unfinished Urbancorp development frustrated, seek answers

Pieces of concrete, building materials and exposed plywood: They're not exactly the most desirable accents for a neighbourhood full of families, but they're what members of one community say have bookended their townhomes for about two years.

'Homes semi-built and just left to rot,' Ward 32 Coun. Mary Margaret-McMahon says

Crystal Eagles and Brent Hagon say their Vince Avenue community is boxed in between a number of unfinished homes and that they have been left high and dry without answers from developers. (CBC)

Pieces of concrete, building materials and exposed plywood: They're not exactly the most desirable accents for a neighbourhood full of families, but they're what members of one community say have bookended their townhomes for about two years.

The sleek modern row of townhomes on Vince Avenue near Dundas Street and Coxwell Avenue were built by the development group Urbancorp. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in April, asking a court for permission to sell assets to pay down debt.

But boxed in between two eyesores, some residents in the area say they've been left high and dry without anyone from the company to turn to for answers.

"We've also had exposed fire extinguishers, toilets, garbage, various building waste. Sometimes completely open sometimes fenced in," resident Ben Hagon told CBC News.

He and Crystal Eagles live on a property next to one of the unfinished sites. "It's certainly been a safety concern at times," said Eagles.

Among the measures Eagles says she and some of the neighbours have taken: calling 311, reaching out to city councillors, calling and emailing the company. But she says her emails stopped being returned months ago.

The sleek modern row of townhomes on Vince Avenue near Dundas Street and Coxwell Avenue were built by the development group Urbancorp, but are bookended by a number of homes that have sat unfinished for about two years, residents say. (Nicholas Boisvert/CBC)

According to its website, Urbancorp is currently developing 17 different sites across the GTA, with some 1,058 individual units under construction. None of the company's condo units are affected, only freehold homes.

Urbancorp has not responded to CBC's requests for comment.

"You wonder what on earth is going to happen and if it's going to be years and years before anything's resolved," Eagles said.

Residents complain that unfinished sites such as this one pose a safety concern and that repeated calls to the developer to clean up the area have gone unanswered. (Nicholas Boisvert/CBC)

Coun. Mary Margaret-McMahon has been trying to help residents get in touch with Urbancorp.

"It's not been the best communication," she said, adding that two of the contacts she was dealing with at the company have since left and she hasn't heard from its owner either.

"We have a development in wonderful Ward 32 that's just sitting there with some homes semi-built and just left to rot," she said. "It's appalling."

"We have a development in wonderful Ward 32 that's just sitting there with some homes semi-built and just left to rot," Coun. Mary Margaret-McMahon said. "It's appalling." (CBC)

But the city is limited in the action it can take, she said. "Bylaw officers are out there ensuring that the site is safe and secure." Beyond that, she says, "We're trying to figure out what exactly what we can do."

Meanwhile, resident Brent Snowden says the eyesores remain. For months, one of the homes that has sat fenced off and unfinished had garbage piling up in it. His calls to the developer went unanswered.

"The builder would not return phone calls, would not return emails, basically just wouldn't do the work that they were supposed to do to finish the house," he said.

"It's just talking to a wall."

With files from Nicholas Boisvert

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