© Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer
ALBERTON — Just eight days after voting to send a letter to the provincial government indicating support for redeveloping the old Maplewood Manor building, Alberton town council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to ask government to proceed with demolishing the building as soon as possible.
Mayor Michael Murphy cast the deciding vote.
Allan Maynard, director of Public Works and Planning for the provincial government, was invited to the meeting, where he gave council some information about running the manor.
Maynard indicated the last year the building served as a manor, in 2010-11, it cost the provincial government about $145,000 for heat, lights, maintenance and snow removal. It has cost the government about $55,000 a year for utilities and snow clearance since then. In the spring of this year, the government made the decision to discontinue the utilities. Maynard said it would likely cost a developer tens of thousands of dollars to get the utilities started up again.
He admitted there’s some asbestos in the building insulating pipes and in some floor tiles but they should pose no safety concerns with the building in its current state. Paint is chipping on the exterior and the roof is nearing the end of its useful life.
Demolition of the building, Maynard estimated, would cost government $100,000 to $150,000.
Councillors had questions about private developers purchasing the property and Maynard said government would have little say on what the building is used for, nor would it be government’s responsibility to demolish the building after it is out of public hands.
Murphy told the meeting councillors have to look no further than Summerside to see what can happen when government turns property over to the private sector. He referred to a vacant school building along Granville Street.
“It was purchased by a prominent business person down there. Seven years later it’s still sitting there, and not a very good-looking building,” he remarked.
Councillors Gallant, David Cahill and Krystyna Pottier voted in favour of demolishing the manor and councillors David Campbell, Natasha Dunn and Blair Duggan voted against.
Dunn and Duggan suggested council should learn more about a proposed development. Dunn offered to contact the developer to see if he would appear before council with his plan. Dunn and Duggan both indicated they know who the developer is but declined to give his name to council.
“It would be nice to know who the developer is,“ Murphy remarked after breaking the tie in favour of asking for the building to be demolished.