Northumberland still standing

Maple Ridge Mayor, council growing impatient

  • Jul. 15, 2011 7:00 p.m.
Ghalib Rawji says legal issues are impeding plans to redevelop the site on Fraser Street.

Ghalib Rawji says legal issues are impeding plans to redevelop the site on Fraser Street.

The old Northumberland Court got a new owner last year and a proposal was made in December to build 29 townhouses and commercial space on the old Fraser Street complex, just south of downtown.

So what’s happened since then, asks the mayor of Maple Ridge.

“It looked like it was moving along well. It’s just we’ve heard nothing. There’s been no action on the file,” Ernie Daykin said Wednesday.

Late last year, council approved first reading of the application.

Staff have asked Vancouver developer Ghalib Rawji what his plans are for the property, and depending on the response, council could order the remaining, vacant buildings – once know as the ghetto – torn down.

“He’s got 30 days to do whatever he wants to do, then we can deal with it when we come back at the end of August.

“Because of its history, there’s an expectation that something should happen down there. I think we’ve been very gracious,” said Daykin.

“Maybe he’s taking advantage of my good nature. We’ll give him a little nudge and see what happens.”

Rawji bought the complex last year, after years of municipal and police frustration at controlling the drug haven.

He later bought the lot immediately to the west, with access to 224th Street so he could build another 13 apartments, as well as office space.

Rawji says there’s been no change in plans and he has been in contact with Maple Ridge staff.

“We’re still moving forward with our plans. We’ve got all our plans in place already.”

He said legal issues have delayed the project and he’ll soon be able to give more details.

Daykin said council has been working on restoring Northumberland Court since elected in 2008.

“All of council would like something buttoned up before the end of the term,” in October.