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Councillors apologize for comments about developer’s work with condo project

Officials with NewRock Development met with city administration in mid-November to clarify the company’s role and responsibility for its infrastructure work at The Estates at Creekstone condominiums, and later wrote a letter to council.
City hall. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

Two city councillors have apologized to a property developer for comments they made about it after a condominium group alleged the business failed to install their storm drains properly.

Officials with NewRock Development met with city administration in mid-November to clarify the company’s role and responsibility for its infrastructure work at The Estates at Creekstone condominiums. 

This was in response to the condo board chair’s criticisms in late October that the company had failed to properly install storm drains, resulting in a pool of smelly water after some residents released water from their sump pumps.

NewRock wrote Puffalt and city council a letter in late November summarizing its concerns with the condo board’s presentation. City administration then presented that letter during the Jan. 23 regular meeting. 

The Moose Jaw Express will feature another story summarizing that letter.

“They felt somewhat that the information (presented) was not 100-per-cent (accurate) on both sides. So they wanted to share more information with us. So that’s their letter,” Puffalt said. 

The company officials’ main point was the condo owners did not approach them about their issues before they spoke to council, said Michelle Sanson, director of planning and development. NewRock will work with the board considering it developed solutions to previous problems with past boards. 

There was a turnover on the board in 2019, which is one reason there was no communication between the groups, she added. NewRock is willing to address the current problem, but the association must pay for all repairs since it’s a private group.

“I would like to — after reading the letter from NewRock — apologize to NewRock for the negative press they got following that meeting,” said Coun. Heather Eby. “And it is a reminder to myself that this is what happens when we get one side of the story only, and when sometimes there are always two and sometimes three.” 

Eby acknowledged that it’s easy to become emotionally affected by what presenters say and then forget there could be another side. She begged the company’s pardon for her comments that may have painted it negatively. 

She added that she appreciated the letter’s contents, including how the company worked with previous condo boards and used proper geotechnical evaluations during its infrastructure upgrades. 

Coun. Crystal Froese also issued a mea culpa, saying she didn’t realize that previous condo boards — and not the present one — had spoken to the developer about infrastructure problems. She believes that’s where the communication mix-up originated since she assumed the former had spoken with the latter. 

“So, my apologies to NewRock. I meant no disrespect whatsoever,” she said. “But sometimes we go with what people put in front of us.” 

NewRock’s vice-president of operations, Rob Whitten, wrote in the letter that he wanted council to ask the media for a correction or retraction of council’s statements from October because of “uniformed and irresponsible comments,” Coun. Kim Robinson said. He wondered if that was something the city should consider.

City administration would have to review the meeting film to see what was said, determine whether the comments councillors made were reported negatively, and go from there, said Puffalt. He noted that the media sometimes doesn’t report things 100-per-cent accurately.

“Not to disparage anybody, but we should look at it (the video) again … ,” he added. 

The next regular council meeting is Monday, Feb. 13. 

Editor’s note:  In the comments directly above, Mr. Puffalt makes the statement that “…media sometimes doesn’t report things 100-per-cent accurately,” which might be true when he is generalizing all media as one. 

Our reporters tape all conversations for clarity and we report what was said, especially direct comments that are individual quotes.  As has been noted in the past, often statements are ammended after the fact in their council meetings, privately or in conversation, but we are not privy to their ammendments and corrections prior to publication. 

If our media publications have reported something wrongly that was misconstrued and written inaccurately by one of our reporters, we are more than happy to issue a correction if we are at fault.       

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