Council debates stepping in to address issues at vacant building

Nancy MacPhee
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

24 Central Street

Effort to create full-service restaurant in former Guardian newspaper office remains stalled

A downtown business owner is getting one last chance to comply with a stop-work order on his property before the city steps in.

“I want to do the right thing, but I don’t want to come down too hard if I don’t have to,” said Coun. Gordie Whitlock at the recent planning board meeting.

The issue goes back months to when the city’s building inspector first learned that the tenant at 24 Central St. — the former Guardian building — was renovating the property without the necessary permits from the city and the province.

At the time, the building housed a take-out restaurant and the tenant was renovating the space into a full-service restaurant with a commercial kitchen.

A stop-work order was issued and, shortly after, the tenant abandoned the project.  

Months passed and nothing was done at the site.

On Feb. 10, a ‘for rent’ sign went up at the property, prompting the building inspector to advise the owner that the stop-work order was still in place. A dangerous/hazardous building notice was the placed on the property.

The owner, on vacation, replied that he would address the issue upon his return.

But nothing has been done, the reason why it is before the planning board.

Under the city’s bylaw, the building inspector can have the work done to bring the site up to code and send the bill to the owner. If, after 30 days, that bill isn’t paid, the city can place a lien on the property.

Deputy Mayor Brent Gallant took issue with this move.

“I don’t know if this is a case where we are driving a spike where a nail would do,” said Gallant. “The owner seemed to indicated they are on vacation. I know the owner... and he has been a pretty good corporate citizen for the last 40 years or so.”

He said with the orders nothing can be done at the property until the work is done.  

“I don’t bring mind bringing the hammer down in situations that warrant it.”

Coun. Bruce MacDougall said there has been no flat refusal from the owner indicating he wasn’t going to do the necessary work.

MacDougall suggested the board hold off for a month in forwarding the issue to council and contact the owner, again, to tell him he has that time to comply.

“I don’t know we should be differing it for a month when so much time has lapsed,” said Coun. Norma McColeman. “It is pretty black and white.”

The planning board, after debate, decided to hold off sending the issue to council.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Thomas Moore
    March 24, 2016 - 08:12

    It says he was on vacation on Feb he still on vacation? Or back but still not dealing with the property?

  • don
    March 23, 2016 - 22:26

    well mayor you have a great power hungry group in city hall. 2 people thinks it is a great place to stay away from. you are killing a great place i was born in s'side 60 years ago long before many big shots in city hall. you are killing it as i said be proud ..

  • don
    March 23, 2016 - 18:47

    well gordie it sounds like the bully is coming out in the city hall. then you wonder why no one wants to open a place in the city. plus it looks like the city hall has a problem with this property owner..............

  • ralph
    March 23, 2016 - 16:19

    @WTF I was just thinking the same, - a place to stay away from.

  • WTF City council
    March 23, 2016 - 15:12

    So the owner was trying to improve the building, and you demanded he stop. Now that the work is stopped, you demand that it be completed. Sounds like a great town not to do business in.

    • Joon Mcgregor
      March 23, 2016 - 19:43

      If the owner wants to improve the building then they are required to first receive a building permit, as is the case in most towns across canada.

    • Alberta MacSwain
      March 24, 2016 - 08:04

      "Improve" is a misleading word. Seems like the owner wanted to make changes without playing by the rules...then he wanted to rent, still without getting the required permits to fix his mistakes. There should be no sympathy here.