Readers share concerns over Kaitlin Corp in Midland

·5 min read

Many MidlandToday readers and Bayport Village Phase 2 homebuyers have reached out with a case of the 'I told you so' since the start of the month, when letters were sent to terminate all incomplete purchase and sale agreements.

At the heart of the matter is Bayport Village, a planned subdivision at 640 Bayport Blvd. which would supply housing within the nestled crook of Midland harbour on Georgian Bay. The development was awarded to Stouffville-based Kaitlin Corporation, with the process starting in 2018.

Kaitlin Corp is run by owner and president William Daniell, and is a company with approximately 50 employees on staff. In senior management positions are four of his children, one of whom is Devon Daniell, director of business development. Under the umbrella corporation The Kaitlin Group, Kaitlin Corp registered the builder name Lanarose Midland Ltd. for the Bayport Village project.

Also in 2018, Kaitlin proposed a Bayport Village Phase 2 subdivision, which would supply 148 freehold townhouse units, 32 freehold/condominium townhouse units and two 12-storey apartment buildings hosting 291 units.

As is standard with planning, the town of Midland provided a draft of many conditions in August 2019 for Kaitlin to comply before the town would grant final plan approval for registration of the subdivision; that draft number was 44 conditions. Additionally, approval of that draft plan would last for three years and would lapse in August 2022 unless otherwise addressed.

The draft 44 conditions included: six general conditions addressing understandings and agreements; 10 roads and traffic conditions including roads, stormwater management, soil and more; two community design conditions for landscaping and aesthetic; five conditions for parks and open space; two specific stormwater management conditions; four conditions to municipal services including the preparation of engineering drawings to the satisfaction of the town; a phasing plan condition if needed; six utilities and easements conditions including hydro and mailboxes; and eight remnant conditions.

The Town of Midland, through staff and council including Mayor Stewart Strathearn, has repeatedly stated transparency on the project. All documents regarding the Bayport Village subdivision are available on the town website.

An audited ‘executive summary of concerns’ was included as correspondence from early 2019, including a risk assessment of Kaitlin which noted they had been “named in a multi-million dollar class-action lawsuit” in 2007 by the owners of the Port of Newcastle development; and noting that Kaitlin as the “defendants did not have the sufficient assets or insurance” to respond, a net settlement was approved in late 2017.

A fast forward to recent events: draft conditions reduced from 44 to 43; buyers who pre-purchased Phase 2 homes were left hanging in early 2022 as contract extensions nearly expired; Kaitlin indicated they would register the whole subdivision at once instead of in phases; Devon Daniell communicated to buyers that town staff had been the obstruction; and Kaitlin terminated incomplete purchase-sales on August 31 of 2022.

Prospective homebuyers of the Bayport properties contacted MidlandToday to voice their concerns.

Glen Wilson originally purchased three homes in the subdivision, cancelling the first when problems arose months earlier but not having received a cheque at the time of conversation. He cancelled the second unit purchased for his family prior to the August termination letters being sent out, which also effectively concluded the third. He stated confusion from miscommunication, not knowing whether the town of Midland or Kaitlin Corporation was at fault.

“And then I got this letter yesterday (August 31) saying the project’s cancelled because of the town. Well, everything I’m reading and everything I’m hearing from different articles – it’s you guys (Kaitlin) who are canceling it. It’s not the town. You guys aren’t complying to it. You guys are being jerks.”

Mohammed Kamal pre-paid on a Bayport home in 2020, and claimed that Kaitlin had invested his purchase to funds elsewhere which denied his family the opportunity to look in other locations for a place to live while prices skyrocketed. Then his termination letter arrived, causing him to lose his investment.

“It looks like a pattern as they’ve done similar in Bowmanville,” said Kamal who speculated that in another year rising prices and new homeowners would “make Kaitlin Group double their profit”.

Kamal wasn’t the only reader to bring up Bowmanville. Cassie Martin also pointed to the Clarington community where Kaitlin pre-sold homes in a development that was stuck in development trouble.

Nick Lalani wrote that “those who have actual dealings (with Kaitlin), can corroborate everything we are reading about the situation”.

Currently, mediators for the town of Midland and Kaitlin are working to get the Bayport Village Phase 2 subdivision cleared of conditions, allowing the town to remove the holding zone provision and give Kaitlin the ability to hand over keys as per the purchase agreements.

MidlandToday reached out to William Daniell for comment, but was informed by Devon he was unavailable and instead answered questions of clarification on his own.

When asked how many termination letters had been sent out, to whom, and under what conditions, Devon responded that circumstances varied between individuals.

“Not everyone had the same condition dates,” said Daniell. “Purchasers who had already received four extensions, and then had the latest condition deadline pass had their deals terminate automatically, as per the agreement.

He added that purchasers were funded mid-September with deposits returning to those who made the deposit upon entering into the agreement.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca