Harry Satdeo’s prediction that his fire-damaged Mackenzie Place highrise would be re-opened for occupancy by the end of August has not come to pass.

However, the owner of the 16-storey apartment building believes it will be open soon.

“It looks like probably the first week of September is the earliest we could open,” he said.

Satdeo Inc. has to have a report completed by an environmental engineer and submitted to the Department of Health and Social Services before the building can re-open.

Mackenzie Place owner Harry Satdeo had predicted earlier this month that the fire-damaged building would be open by the end of August, but he is now hoping that might take place in early September.
NNSL file photo

“I spoke to the fellow that’s doing the report and he says it’s about 10 days away,” Satdeo told The Hub on Aug. 23.

“And that’s what the government is going to rely on,” he added of the report by the environmental engineer from Edmonton.

The Department of Health and Social Services is awaiting to see Satdeo Inc.’s revised plans for the building.

“The public health order dated May 17, 2019, remains in place to protect the tenants (and the public) from health hazards resulting from the Mackenzie Place fire and subsequent interior damage,” said Damien Healy, the department’s manager of communications, in an e-mail to The Hub. “Satdeo Inc. is required to submit a revised assessment report and remediation plan to the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer for review and approval. Re-occupancy can only occur after the public health order is lifted.”

The order prohibits public access to the highrise after an inspection in May found mould growth and other hazards, including loose materials that may contain asbestos.

Satdeo also has to have a structural engineer look at the building and report to the GNWT.

A structural engineer has not yet had a chance to inspect the building.

Satdeo explained workers have to clean up the 11th-floor apartment in which the fire occurred before the structural engineer can look at it.

During a tour of the Mackenzie Place highrise on Aug. 7, building owner Harry Satdeo stands in an apartment being cleaned up on the second floor. Satdeo said some carpet in the apartment may have been soiled by water damage from a March 15 fire on the 11th floor, while the rest of the cleanup involved removing items left by the former tenant.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

“They have to remove the debris and then that engineer is going to come and check it,” said the building owner, noting the cleanup should start this week.

Satdeo is hopeful that, after the reports are submitted, the GNWT will take only a few days to review the information and give him the go-ahead to re-open the building.

One of his ideas has been to re-open most floors, while keeping the 11th floor, 10th floor and 12th floor blocked off.

Healy said the Department of Health and Social Services would probably consider Satdeo’s proposal for re-opening most floors once a revised report is received.

“No approval will be provided for any floors until he submits a revised assessment and remediation report,” Healy said. “Once we receive that report, we’ll be able to look at it and then determine if we can open it up.”

Mackenzie Place has been devoid of tenants since the March 15 fire.

There was smoke and water damage to parts of the building, particularly apartments below the 11th floor on the north side of the structure.

An estimated 125 people were displaced by the fire.

Mackenzie Place has 122 apartments. At the time of the fire, 83 were occupied.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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