Now. You may not live in Regina. You may not live in Saskatchewan. Hell, you may not even live in Canada, or maybe you’re not a North Americaner. Either way, it doens’t matter because there is “nothing wrong”. Don’t take my word for it. Local developer Fortress Real Developments has reassured the pubic* via the media that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Nothing. SO STOP WORRYING, YOU.
In this article from CTV News, you will find the most ludicrous statements perhaps ever given by anyone ever, who isn’t the president of a major G7 country. But first, a bit of background.
There used to be a hotel on this property. It was pretty fancy once, and had some neat (if somewhat brutalist) design, and a giant 50s-futurism multicoloured fluorescent “radio tower/antenna” on the top of it. My mum used to hang out at the pub in the Plains when she was at teachers’ college in the 60s. …actually I’m pretty sure everyone hung out at the pub in the Plains hotel in the 60s, whether or not they were in teachers’ college.
Anyway, as is the way with things in Saskatchewan, once a structure turns 40, there’s some kind of unwritten law or policy or bylaw that you have to let it go to shite so that people bitch less when you decide to rip it down to build…I dunno. Parking lots and strip malls and frigging banks. Seriously. Check out Vintage Regina’s incredible Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/vintageregina/). There’s proof. Anywhere in this architecturally soul-sucking province, any kind of beaux-arts, Bauhaus, neoclassical, art deco, or postmodern design was marked as “probably pertaining to witches” and was recommended for the wrecking ball within seconds of the newest and least artistic building designs developed by engineering firms. We are nothing in Saskatchewan if not terrified of witches.
So the plan was, a decade or so ago (give or take a few years) to tear down the Plains Hotel because “it had been let go” (which means that whoever owned the property just gave up trying to rent out space or keep anything up to code or repurpose the building because it’s cheaper to wreck it than it is to do any of those other things, and besides, thinking about things is HARD, yo, and pubic* consultation is for schmucks and public enterprise). I mean, I’m sure there were other things that came in to that discussion, like “magnet for undesireables” (read: people who could afford the bargain-basement bordello prices of rooms back when they still let rooms and, you know, had staff) and “cesspool of squatters and criminals” and “pubic* eyesore”.
In rode a Saviour, and the Saviour rode upon a pale horse. Wait. I’m getting the corner of Victoria Street and Albert Avenue mixed up with the Book of Revelations again. You’d be surprised how often that happens. The Saviour actually arrived in the form of a developer whose plan was to tear down the Plains Hotel and build on its plot of land a HIGH RISE CONDO BUILDING in which people! would buy! condominiums! Which is of course what every *major* city wants: a bunch of people living in square boxes with underground parking and very little access to groceries, and who never go out at night because they’ve all bought in to the idea that downtown is dangerous and you’ll get shivved if you even THINK about going outside. Also, witches.
Blah blah blah downtown revitalisation blah blah city planning blah blah blah urban development blah blah condos blah money. Is what it boiled down to.
So the condo developers sold the city on this high rise idea and went straight to work. They ripped down the Plains Hotel.
and then nothing happened. For a really long time. There was this …how does one describe it? Giant mud pit with some rubble on it… for a number of months. Years even. Sometimes, there was a blue porta-potty on it. Those were the exciting times. There were very few witches on it, so I guess the demolition was a success. City planning cycles came and went, and the TENS of people (like, actually less than ten, I think) who bought in to the condo development malarky waited and waited and waited and eventually the developers’ building permit ran out. So the city goes, “dudes. Are you gonna…?”
And the developer was all, “pfffft. YEAH. OBVS.”
And the city was all, “oh, okay, good then.” And issued another building permit.
And lo, nothing happened.
More planning cycles. More nothing happening. A fence went up. The blue biffy returned. The city said, “ummm…”
The developer said, “dudes. SERIOUSLY.”
The city said. “phew. That’s a relief.”
Then they started digging. They dug and they dug and they pulled SO MUCH DIRT out of the ground. Like. So much dirt. And then they discovered that when hotels like the Plains were built in the 50s, they were NOT fucking around with infrastructure, so they had to ALSO pull out a literal shitload of rebar and concrete and, like, pipes or whatever. For, like, poop. There were a lot of poop pipes. More poop pipes than the developers expected (because, I dunno, they forgot that the building would be connected to city services and weren’t just built over a giant cesspit anymore? Like, not since the middle ages?). So work stalled. Four people were VERY surprised that work had stalled.
Cue some more planning cycles. Cue some more questions from the city and reassurances from the developer.
It is now YEARS into this “development” process. Entire neighbourhoods have been planned, designed, erected, and populated (Harbour Landing (the stupidest name for a neighbourhood in a landlocked province ever in the history of time. I suspect witches were involved.)). A whole huge stadium was built (that looks from above like enormous labia). A hundred hundred trains stopped a thousand thousand people from getting home on time during rush hour. Still Capital Pointe (note the useless extraneous ‘e’ that just screams “pretentious git”) is naught but a fence, a biffy, and a giant hole in the ground.
“What ho,” sayeth the City. “Yon building permitte is about to expire. Forsooth pray tell what the everloving fuck is happeninge with this site which has become unto a giant gaping maw of this looks worse than the Plains ever dide.”
“Wull,” sayeth the developer. “It’s the workers. They’re, like, lazy. I blame the Industrial Revolution.”
“Uh, fuck you very much,” say the builders. “We haven’t been paid in months. You don’t pay us, we don’t work. Also, lien against the developers.”
“Wull,” sayeth the developer. “Like. Anyone can register a lien. These hicks don’t even know what that word means.”
*stern stare from builders*
“Well you don’t.”
“shut up you’re not coming to my birthday.”
Eventually the city points out that if the developer isn’t going to, you know, do anything on the site by the end of March 2018, they’re going to have to put all that magnificent dirt back into the hole to prevent giants tripping in it and witches moving in. We all know how witches love their ditches. This brings us to this news story today. Allow me to point out the salient points to you:
“There is nothing wrong on our site, there is absolutely nothing wrong,” – Nick Circosta of Fortress Real Developments
100% true, if your measurement of “nothing wrong” means “we have literally done nothing for months and months”. Also 100% true if your interpretation of “nothing wrong” means “if you close your eyes and pretend we never said we’d finish this at all ever, we’re RIGHT ON TRACK”.
“Many sites across the country shut down over the winter months…” – also Nick Circosta of Fortress Real Developments
Also probably true, although I should point out that we have not had seven years of winter months and literally ENTIRE YEARS have gone by with nothing happening on that site except for the “Capital Pointe Developments” banner getting more and more tattered and the biffy disappearing under inky cloak of darkness one night. Also-ALSO, I point out that work did not shut down on the labia stadia in the winter months. (Yes, I know “stadia” is plural, but I’m really enjoying this rhyme.) Work did not shut down on Harbour Landing nor on whatever development it is north of the city during the winter months. Now, I don’t know whether that is in any way linked to the construction teams working on those other projects getting paid, because I don’t know a lot about the construction industry, so let’s just give these guys a pass, shall we?
“[The city] can give us any deadline they want, but we are going in accordance with the Canadian building code.” – still Nick Circosta of Fortress Real Developments
- did anyone else mention the Canadian building code?
- does the Canadian building code say anything about a) not working over the winter months; b) defining “the winter months” as “the previous seven years”; c) going where? Literally nothing has moved on that site since September.
- does the Canadian building code mention anything about adhering to municipal development standards, bylaws, timelines, and/or permits? I BET IT DOES, MR. CIRCOSTA. I bet. It. Does.
- does the Canadian building code have different editions based on jurisdiction? WHY YES, MR. CIRCOSTA, IT DOES. In case you don’t have a copy of the Saskatchewan building legislation and regulations, they’re available for anyone to read right here. In case you’re not up to date on them, the local authority (read: municipality) is responsible to administer and enforce these building standards, so even if you want to “go in accordance with Canadian building code”, the city kinda gets to tell you whether or not you’re in compliance, and they kinda have a legal duty to not let you, you know, not be in compliance.
- The National Building Code (which is not called the Canadian building code, btw) is available here. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a section that says “taking your own sweet time to get shit moving and blowing past several municipal deadlines is a perfectly legit and respectable business practice”.
Now, far be it from me to call any of this shady AF business, but at this point, sorry – at this pointe, the only thing I would buy from this developer is a written statement indicating when the gaping maw of fiscal misfortune would be filled in. Because unless we’re filling that thing with witches or making a new pubic* outdoor pool, I’m sure there are actually competent developers who could actually build something on that site in less than a decade. Something useful. Something practical. Something probably not designed particularly attractively, but you get what you get in this architectural climate. Maybe even something that all eight Capital Pointe Condo owners could live in.
P.S. Do a Google search for “Capital Pointe Hole” and you’ll get a good idea of the impressive amount of work that’s been shirked.
P.P.S. Update: in which headlines could be lewd references to porn: https://regina.ctvnews.ca/city-orders-capital-pointe-developer-to-fill-hole-1.3869571
*I meant public