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Condo owners reflect on construction delays

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Buyers navigated around exposed walls and piles of gyproc to get one of their first views of the River Walk condominium project here Saturday.

While changes still are being made and the move in date has been delayed, owners seemed happy with their new homes for the most part.

“It’s thrilling, we’re pleased,” Harold Herrem remarked.

Herrem and his wife, Irene, were looking at their second-floor unit. They had been in a week earlier to review the site, and Herrem said he was impressed by features such as the thickness of insulation and the soundness of the structure.

Originally, owners of the 20 pre-sold units in the 32-unit complex were told they would be able to move in by Dec. 1. But Penn-co Construction Canada Ltd. now has said the completion date will have to be pushed back.

“The first opportunity to move in will be Dec. 20 for tenants. The rest of the units will be finished by Feb. 1,” Ernest Penner, head of Penn-co Construction Canada Ltd., said Saturday.

Flooding back in June and record cold temperatures last month, combined with a labour shortage for construction and a number of changes being made to each individualized suites, caused the completion date to be pushed back.

But the Herrems aren’t too upset with the delay.

“We expect to be able to get in by mid-January. It doesn’t bother us,” he said. “We still have our house, we didn’t sell it yet.”

“It really can’t be helped,” Irene Herrem added.

Robert and Alice Radbourne were checking out their suite on the fourth floor.

The couple, like many of the owners, made changes to the plans to better suit their needs. For instance, they have moved the kitchen sink and removed a couple of walls to open the space in their unit.

On Saturday, they were just checking to see if those changes had been made.

“We are quite pleased,” Robert Radbourne said.

Neither was shocked that construction of the complex is behind schedule.

“I’ve been involved in enough construction in the past that I am not surprised by the delay,” Radbourne said. “It is just part of life.”

Still, not everyone was completely pleased. One owner, who did not wish to give her name, said she was thoroughly upset by the delays during Saturday’s tour.

Others were concerned about firming up a move in date or storage concerns.

Peggy Radbourne, who also will be living in the Front Street complex, said the delay won’t change her impression of her new home. “It would be nice if I were in,” she remarked. “But either way, it is going to be very nice.”

Lawerence and Loritta Allen, who will be living on the third floor, were equally unfazed by the setback. “We’re just glad to get a look at it,” he said. “We’re really impressed.”

Bob Froese, project manager for the Fort Frances Non-profit Housing Committee, said owners are just glad to see the building progressing.

“It is going very well,” he said. “You don’t have to spend much time here to get a feel for the enthusiasm of the owners.”

Penner, whose company is responsible for four of the 12 remaining unsold units, said that enthusiasm by homeowners actually may help local realtors sell the remaining suites.

“Once the homeowners start moving in, [selling the remaining units] will resolve itself,” he noted. “A lot of people want to see what they look like and the condo lifestyle before the sign on.”

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