Penhorwood condo owners hope demolition is start of end to ordeal
CBC News
13 January 2015

Nearly four years after condo owners abandoned their homes after they were deemed unsafe, Fort McMurray’s Penhorwood buildings are set to be demolished.

Work will begin Thursday as crews begin knocking down the first of seven buildings that residents were forced to evacuate on a cold night in March 2011.

“It’s one step closer to closing this page in a nightmare,” said Tammi Connor.

She was one of more than 300 residents given just minutes to leave near midnight, after inspectors deemed the seven-building, 168-unit complex structurally unsound. Now, she’s glad to see the building that cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars go down.

The condo properties are boarded up, but owners had to continue paying their mortgages and condo fees — plus rent for alternate accommodations.

The head of the condo board said it was enough to force some into bankruptcy.

“The owners are absolutely ecstatic that this horrible eyesore and horrible disaster for them is finally coming down,” said Christine Burton.

The municipality of Wood Buffalo has set aside $3 million to pay for the work and will not be asking residents to reimburse them.

In 2011, condo owners voted to borrow $35 million to rebuild the complex, a plan that depended on winning a complicated lawsuit against the builder. 

Demolition is expected to be complete by mid-February.

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