Asbestos complaint at student housing construction project

The Ministry of Labour is investigating after an asbestos complaint at a student housing construction project at the former YMCA on King Street West in Chatham. (Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News)

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The Ministry of Labour is currently investigating after an asbestos complaint was filed about a student housing construction project in Chatham.

Everlast Group Ltd. is building the project at the former YMCA on King Street West, near the Chatham-Kent Civic Centre.

In an email to The Daily News on Friday, the ministry stated an inspector responded to the complaint on Wednesday.

Two orders were issued to the Everlast Group for general housekeeping and for adequate lighting where workers are present.

“One requirement was also issued to Everlast Group Ltd. not to disturb suspected asbestos-containing material in a specific area,” the ministry stated. “Our investigation is ongoing.”

On Thursday, the Ministry of Labour visited the site again. One requirement was issued for Everlast Group to obtain samples, and that no work shall be permitted in the area in question until the required sampling is completed.

Although a “stop work order – do not enter” notice from the ministry could be seen on one of the doors, there is no order actually in place.

“The requirement is for sampling and, as part of the sampling, work can’t be done in that area,” the ministry stated. “The tape used is more for precaution to the workers, not because a stop-work order was issued.”

Everlast Group, based in Brampton, announced in February it is investing $9 million to convert the former YMCA building into a residence that will house 200 international students in the future.

Company officials were unavailable for immediate comment Friday.

Construction began last November on the project, which is expected to draw students from India and China, and other parts of the world, to St. Clair College.

Named La Residence, each unit of the first phase, originally slated to be completed by the end of March, will have four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen with fridge and stove, and a living room and dining room.

Victor Boutin, principal at Everlast Group, said last month he plans to provide recreational activities for the students onsite, including a gymnasium and tennis court.

He said plans also include development along the Thames River in a few years to provide canoeing and kayaking for students.

– With Ellwood Shreve files

tterfloth@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/DailyNewsTT

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