Granisle’s village council is still grappling over how to demolish buildings it declared derelict last year.
The structures at 82 Hagen St. once contained a thriving shopping centre but as the village’s population began to decline years ago so did the number of businesses and the structures slowly went into a state of disrepair, something not remedied under their current ownership.
It’s what caused council last year, after extensive efforts to have the structures either repaired or taken down, to declare the buildings derelict and issue a demolition order.
That order from last August gave the owners 90 days to do the work or laid open the possibility of having the village undertake the demolition and then apply the cost to the owners’ property taxes.
So far, neither has happened and council is now considering its next steps, says Village of Granisle chief administrative officer Sharon Smith.
The option of having the village do the work and then apply the charge to the owners’ property taxes is still on the table as a possibility, she confirmed.
“The demolition order still remains. No definite decision has been determined moving forward,” said Smith.
The village did start looking for contractors to do the work and has now received a couple of quotes for remediation and demolition, she said.
Council did commission a pre-demolition report which it has not yet released publicly.
It’s also unknown if the current owners have reimbursed the village the last time it did some demolition work on the structures to deal with a potential hazard.
That was in 2019 and involved removing a wooden overhang from the north building after the owners failed to follow through after being issued a remedial action requirement.
The owner was then invoiced for the cost of the work but, based on a Jan. 9, 2020 letter sent by the village’s lawyers to the owner, that invoice went unpaid.
When asked if that invoice was ever paid, Smith said that “is confidential information and not available unless there is a legal tax search by a notary/legal entity eg. a real estate transaction requiring that information.”
The village was aided in its decision to have the buildings demolished by the owners or by itself by a building inspection carried out by a Smithers company in 2019. The company assembled a long list of repairs needed for each building ranging from replacing deteriorated concrete blocks to replacing membranes on roofs to prevent further leaks.
Village staffers looked at the assessed values of the buildings and in a memo to council as part of a lengthy package of information concluded “estimates of the cost of repairing the buildings far exceed the assessed value of the buildings.”
The village had also offered to purchase the land and buildings from a previous owner in 2015 for the assessed value of the land but that offer never reached a conclusion.