Newly built townhomes in a Smiths Falls subdivision are nearly move-in ready; however, electricity is not connected to the properties. That delay, is preventing buyers from taking possession and moving in.
The newest phase of a subdivision, called “Bellamy Farm”, is located near Hwy. 15 in the southern part of Smiths Falls.
For future neighbours, move-in day keeps moving. Owners of the new-build townhomes say they’re almost a year past their original closing dates.
“Everything from just COVID to shortage of supplies,” says Logan Sarch, who is looking forward to moving in with his fiancé.
The homes are pretty much finished, according Sarch, except for one major part.
“They can’t give us answers or move-in dates, because they can’t tell us when they’ll be able to give us power,” he says.
“The house is built, it’s devastating for me to stand here and look at the house knowing that it’s basically move-in able, except for the hydro,” says another home buyer, Lyn Beansant.
Getting the hydro lines in is the issue, according to Smiths Falls Mayor Shawn Pankow.
“The biggest challenge that we face right now is that, when staff did a site visit, they discovered that an adjacent property is encroaching on town property, in exactly the location where the hydro service will be running though,” Pankow said.
He says an existing business apparently is occupying town land, including having installed a fence. Pankow says the town is working to resolve the issue.
“We’ve really tried to ensure that this could happen as quickly as possible. Sometimes, there’s obstacles and barriers that come up that you’re not prepared for; but, I’m confident that our staff are doing everything they can do to move this forward.”
The delay is also driving up costs, and interest rates.
“I was at 1.2, then I was at 1.8, then I was at 2.4; and now, I’m at 3.4,” Beansant says.
“The rates have gone up since August, and they’re probably going to go up again right around the time I’m to renew; and that could be as much as another 1 and a half per cent. That could, possibly, push me to not be able to afford this home anymore,” says another future townhome owner, Rob Pretty.
The builder, Park View Homes, was not available for an interview with CTV News Ottawa. In an email, President Andrew Cinnamon wrote, “Me and my team are very busy working with Hydro and the Municipality to be in a position to deliver the new homes. Our efforts are best spent doing that at this time.”
An earlier phase of the subdivision does have power. Hydro One spokesperson Tiziana Baccega Rosa says the utility is prepared to temporarily hook up into that while a permanent solution is worked out.
“We don’t want to affect these customers who have waited long enough to get into these homes, we understand what’s at stake for them — so, we can do this, what is a temporary connection, but it will be seamless to them, in order to get them into their homes as quickly as possible.”
The spokesperson added that the delay on the project, and “any role we played in it, is unacceptable to us.”
Hydro One also adds that growth in the province is continuing at a rapid pace, and they have seen a 30 per cent increase in the number of new connections from customers and developers, which resulted in a backlog and delay in their original overhead design.
Late Thursday afternoon, Mayor Pankow told CTV News Ottawa that work will begin right away on connecting the homes.
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