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Uganda Gov't speaks out on demolition of its High Commission building in Canada

The Government of Uganda has opened up on the recent demolition of a building belonging to its High Commission in Ottawa, Canada.

The remains of the former diplomatic residence of the Uganda High Commission at 235 Mariposa Ave. in Ottawa.

The incident has sparked controversy and a lawsuit filed against the demolition company.

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The property, located at 235 Mariposa Ave., has been under the ownership of the Ugandan government but has suffered neglect and disrepair for over a decade.

Despite efforts to obtain permits for necessary repairs, stringent heritage preservation laws in Canada prolonged the process, exacerbating the structural damages.

According to Mrs. Kafeero, the Head of Public Diplomacy Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the contractor tasked with the repairs faced significant challenges due to the compromised integrity of the building's walls.

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This predicament left them with no viable option but to apply for a demolition permit.

The demolition of the 67-year-old stucco house, designated as a Grade 2 heritage property, has raised concerns within the local community and authorities. The City of Ottawa has initiated legal action against Elite Dream Construction, the company responsible for the demolition, citing violations of the Ontario Heritage Act and Ontario's Building Code Act.

Norman Allen, the city's deputy chief building official, emphasized the seriousness of the situation, labeling the demolition as an "unapproved" action. The city alleges multiple violations, including demolishing parts of the property beyond the scope permitted by the existing permit.

Local stakeholders, including city councillors and residents' associations, have expressed dismay and frustration over the unauthorized destruction of the heritage property.

Susan Peterson of the Rockcliffe Park Residents Association described the incident as "appalling" and highlighted the importance of preserving Ottawa's heritage.

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The Uganda High Commission's previous clash with the city council over another property underscores the complexities of diplomatic property management.

Despite past disputes, the High Commission is seeking approval to build a larger structure on the Mariposa Ave. site, subject to council review.

Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Rawlson King stressed the need for collaboration with foreign missions to ensure proper property maintenance. He acknowledged the challenges in enforcement but emphasized the importance of upholding heritage conservation efforts.

In response to the demolition, the Ugandan government has provided a letter acknowledging the unauthorized action, signaling a commitment to address the issue.

However, neither Elite Dream Construction nor the Uganda High Commission has responded to requests for comment, leaving many questions unanswered.

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