Edmonton sang his praises, then choked him in red tape – that’s how Fawzy Abuamra feels after an 18-month re-zoning battle to turn a derelict gas station and garage into a small rent-to-own used car shop and garage.
In 2015, city officials fêted the property as their first win under a push to fix up neighbourhood commercial eyesores. But today it’s still closed.
“I don’t know what to do. I’m literally going bankrupt,” said the small business owner Wednesday morning, ready to give up and let the Fort Road and 122 Avenue site sink back into disarray.
Edmonton could do a lot to make this city more business friendly, Abuamra said.
“It’s the red tape and requirements the city is putting on owners. It’s too many departments and everyone is putting in their two cents. Every person, based on their opinion, thinks you need to do more.”
Business owners and developers regularly complain to councillors about long wait times for small infill rezoning applications and development permits. Permits for small residential infill projects took an average of 100 days last year.
Developers say they go back and forth with city staff, negotiating over weeks and months, watching each delay add up.
Abuamra bought the property in 2014 from two siblings who had been sitting on their inheritance for more than a decade, letting it collect garbage.
He spent roughly $250,000, he said, fixing the roof, gutting…
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