News

Former ghetto property to stay empty

Ghalib Rawji appears to have abandoned plans to rebuild on site of Northumberland Court. - News Files
Ghalib Rawji appears to have abandoned plans to rebuild on site of Northumberland Court.
— image credit: News Files

The empty lot that used to house notorious Northumberland Court will stay empty for while, after the owner apparently lost interest in the lot.

A report to Maple Ridge council Monday says owner Ghalib Rawji hasn’t responded to e-mails or phone calls and it’s been more than a year since he talked with staff.

So staff are suggesting that the rezoning application for 29 townhomes and 24 condos, be shelved.

Rawji’s rezoning application for the property on Fraser Street, a block south of Lougheed Highway, got first reading more than two years ago on condition that he apply for development permit. But that hasn’t happened, so staff say the application should be closed.

Another application for rezoning or development could be filed later, but the process would have to start from scratch.

Port Haney resident Tyler Ducharme isn’t surprised.

“We’ve heard for well over a year that it wasn’t going forward. The legacy of Northumberland is still being felt in the neighbourhood.”

But as long as the lot is kept clear, it shouldn’t be any worse than any other lot, he added.

Mayor Ernie Daykin said it’s disappointing.

And while the lot is empty with a fence around it, “it’s a heck of a lot better than what we had before it was torn down.”

The property could attract another investor, he added.

Rawji’s purchase of the property a few years ago from the strata property owners, mainly Jack Athwal, solved a major problem for council.

For years, the deteriorating five-building complex had occupied staff, police and politicians’ time because of building safety concerns and crime.

But after a district demolition order, the old buildings fell to a front-end loader in October last year with Mayor Ernie Daykin taking a turn at the controls.

The machinery moved in after a protracted process that finally saw council issue the order in July after the buildings had been entered and wiring tampered with.

All that remains now is a level gravel lot surrounded by security fencing.

Staff told council they’re recommending that application be closed. Council was to read the report at its committee meeting Monday.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Teacher strike cheques in the mail
 
Most colonoscopies on time in Fraser region despite demand surge
 
Labour consumes most new tax dollars cities collect
Fire destroys Maple Ridge home
 
Mayor brings back defeated smoking bylaw
 
Awakening from a bad dream
Eviction deadline looms for homeless South Surrey couple
 
Protestors chase Kinder Morgan surveyors from Burnaby Mountain
 
Campaign trail tarred with ‘gay serum’ rumour

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 24 edition online now. Browse the archives.