November 12, 2018

By BRANDY FULTON

Finding student housing close to Conestoga College can be difficult. There are normally three choices when looking for a place to stay: you could apply to residence, and live close to school, McDonalds and Tim Hortons; live in a student house across the street and with a number of other people; or stay somewhere within the surrounding cities, where you could drive up to 45 minutes to get to class.

However, a new option has been built for students just down the road from the college.

The Collegeview Commons, located at 200 Old Carriage Dr. in Kitchener, consists of two apartment buildings that offer a more apartment-like space. They were supposed to have study spaces and a number of amenities.

Residents of building B, the only building of the two open, are not thrilled with their experience so far.

“It is not OK what they have put us through,” said Sadie Shewfelt, a Conestoga College student. “The students have bent over backwards for them.”

Shewfelt refers to times where students were given short notice via email from Dan Vogel, the building manager, to move their cars. Two parking garages and one parking lot were supposed to be available to residents, however, at the beginning of the September 2016 school year, they were still under construction. The driveway ramp had not yet been paved and four weeks into the new semester, the parking garages were yet to be finished.

On Oct. 14, 2016 in an email from Vogel, it was stated that the second parking lot would be completed in four to six weeks. Two weeks later, due to having to pave the ramp, students had to park in the unfinished lot and on the road. Once the ramp was completed the students then had to move their cars once more to the original lots. The upper level and the P1 lot are now complete, however, students are not permitted in P2 and having enough parking for every tenant remains an issue.

“The only thing done are the rooms,” said Shewfelt. “The parking garages aren’t done, there are no amenities and no rush to get them done. They promised amenities at the end of October at the latest.”

Before moving in students were promised a 24-hour fitness centre, a yoga studio, a theatre room and a coffee bar.

“These amenities are for all 1,000 students but right now with only one tower open we have 438 students,” said Allan Drewlo, the owner of the building. “So, half of the study rooms are open and a fitness facility has been open with enough (room) for half of the project.”

Once again students were emailed before the Christmas break saying the amenities would be complete after the holidays. However, that was not the case.

“There has been no compensation, even though many students have come forward and asked or expressed their concern,” said Shewfelt.

On move-in day, students said there was still dust covering the rooms, appliances have broken a number of times and there has been a need to replace bed frames and couches due to poor
quality.

“The pictures they provided on the website are so far off of what they built,” said a first-year welding engineering technology student who wanted to remain anonymous. “It’s still a construction zone. The windows aren’t sealed properly … the attention to detail of the construction workers was not present because the quality of the work is minimal.”

Construction workers said they weren’t allowed to talk to the media and could not give an update on the second building. It is also closed off and no pictures were allowed inside the completed portion.

Drewlo is not concerned about the delays in the building process, saying that it is the normal process for building a project of this size.

The second building and final parking lot are scheduled to be finished in May 2017, and amenities are expected to be completed within 60 days.

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