Still no cause found in fire investigation
Seven months after a fire wiped out the businesses at the Campus Court Plaza in Waterloo, the business owners are still asking what's next.
No cause has been released for the blaze on April 22, which devastated the commercial plaza on University Avenue that housed a bar, restaurants and an optical centre.
There was an estimated $3 million in damage, five businesses were wiped out and about 100 people were put out of work.
The Ontario Fire Marshall's Office is reportedly waiting for forensic reports on samples taken from the scene before the cause can be determined.
Meanwhile business owners continue to wait. Benny Afrouzi is the owner of the University Vision Centre, one of the businesses that was destroyed in the blaze.
He says "It is very discouraging, I know there are some logistics that have to be done, but I was hoping that it wouldn't take eight months before they start any construction here."
Jerry Smith is the owner of Mel's Diner, which was also destroyed in the fire. He says "Fifteen years here, we built a family of staff here, a family of customers, a great relationship with both schools right next door."
The property owners are anxious to rebuild the 17-thousand square foot building, a project that will take three months once final approval has been given.
It can't come soon enough for Priti Khullar, who was a regular at the plaza. She says "It's the worst. It's the after-clubbing type of place. I live over there and I run over every day like at 4:00 a.m. because they're always open, like for some breakfast. It really sucks that it's not here."
Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran says the city is working with the owner to expedite the process.
"They are going through the usual review of the drawings and the documents for the new development and we're waiting for the owner to come back to us with those revised documents."
It is expected to be spring of 2011 at the earliest before the businesses can re-open.