The Service Manager for Kingston and County of Frontenac has assumed control of Town Homes Kingston’s operations in response to a number of alleged breaches under the Province’s Housing Services Act, including breaches to fire regulations.
“We are working with Kingston Fire & Rescue and have made compliance with fire regulations at Town Homes Kingston sites a top priority,” says Lanie Hurdle, who in her capacity as the City Of Kingston’s Commissioner Of Community Services also concurrently acts as the Service Manager for Kingston and County Of Frontenac. Town Homes Kingston is a municipal not-for-profit housing corporation that operates nearly 400 units in the City of Kingston.
At 9 a.m. on Monday, July 23rd, the Service Manager issued a Notice Of Triggering Events and a Notice of Decision to Invoke a Remedy under the Provincial Housing Services Act to the board of directors of Town Homes Kingston. The notice informed the board that the Service Manager was assuming operation of Town Homes Kingston effective immediately and that the Executive Director, April McGinnis, was being removed from her post. As a result of the decision, the board of directors also loses governance capacity over Town Homes Kingston, explained Hurdle.
Recent operational reviews by the City of Kingston alleged that Town Home Kingston has failed to secure life safety systems and that current Fire Safety Plans were not in place at its sites.
“This deficiency was brought to the attention of Town Homes Kingston on June 6th, and as of today, no action has been taken to rectify this health and safety issue,” said Hurdle.
The operational reviews also described additional breaches related to financial management and conflict of interest guidelines. Hurdle did not elaborate on those concerns.
The Service Manager has also provided a Notice of Project in Difficulty to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
Hurdle says the City is in the process of remedying the outstanding life and safety issues and informing affected tenants, while working closely with Kingston Fire & Rescue to ensure the safety of all tenants in the interim. Hurdle expects that outstanding life and safety items will be remedied within a few weeks, and that identified corporate governance and finance problems will be addressed within a few months.
Hurdle indicated that McGinnis was currently on vacation and that the decision was in the process of being relayed. Various attempts to reach McGinnis for comment were not immediately successful.
More to come.