After three years of legal wrangling, Brampton’s Big Blue House has gone back to square one. Justice Kofi Barnes issued his final remediation timetable for the property on Friday. His order lists options that are identical to what was previously ordered three years ago. The owner, Ahmed Elbasiouni now has 90 days to comply with any of the following:
- Seek a demolition permit.
- Apply to the Committee of Adjustments to bring the property into compliance with the applicable zoning requirements.
- Apply to the Building Division for a Revision Permit.
The Big Blue House is located at 443 Centre Street North in Brampton. It has been left partially constructed for the past three and a half years. The owner was granted a building permit to redevelop the property. Once construction had significantly advanced, a “technical discrepancy” was discovered and the building permit was revoked by the City.
In court documents originally filed on April 10, 2013, the City of Brampton states that the permits “were issued by the Chief Building Official in error due to the incorrect zoning for the information for the Property contained in the City’s AIMS database, which led to that incorrect zoning being applied when the applications, plans and drawings were reviewed.”
In September 2013, Justice Barnes granted the owner with the original remediation timetable after citing that it was “unreasonable” for the City to revoke his permit without giving him a chance to make corrections. He imposed a “stay” on the permit revocation which prevented further legal moves by the City to permanently halt the development. The City of Brampton and Elbasiouni have since made numerous appearances in the Courts.
In June 2015, both sides agreed that the owner would submit an application to the Committee of Adjustments to bring the property into compliance with the applicable zoning requirements. In October 2015, an application for a minor variance to the lot coverage requirements and an eleven foot fence was refused.
Subsequently, the City raised and brought forward a contempt hearing against the owner, alleging that he was “purposefully delaying in order to allow the property to fall in to such a state that it will have to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch.”
At a hearing in June of this year, Elbasiouni cross-examined the City’s former Chief Building Official. Then, on September 9th, Justice Kofi Barnes dismissed the City’s allegations in an endorsement stating, “I conclude that the City is not in sync with its counsel; the “left hand does not know what the right hand is doing”. Had this not been the case perhaps the contempt hearing would not have been necessary.”
Following his decision and after reviewing submissions from both sides, Justice Barnes has re-enforced a 90-day remediation timetable. In his Order, the Judge writes that if the owner fails to file the necessary application for one or more of the options within that time, the “stay of the building permit revocation by the Chief Building Official dated February 20, 2013 is revoked”.
Justice Barnes also set a May 30th, 2017 deadline for the expiration of the stay on the City’s revocation permit. The revocation applies even if Elbasiouni applies for one or more of the options. This appears to give Elbasiouni a total of eight months to resolve the matter with the City of Brampton.
The Judge also states in his Order that the owner may “at his discretion”, appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board, and that he would provide detailed typed reasons for his decisions by October 7th, 2016.
Earlier this year, Elbasiouni granted exclusive access to Brampton Focus with a sit down television interview and a never before seen look at the interior of the property. In an interview with host Michael A. Charbon, Elbasiouni sought to dispel certain Media reports and to detail the history of his dealings with officials at the City of Brampton.
Brampton Focus also interviewed the neighbours that live next to the large development. They describe their experiences and reasons for opposing the development. You can watch the Brampton Focus One Hour Special here.
You can also read a timeline of our coverage here.