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Carbonear considers court action on burnt-out building

By Mark Squibb/December 2, 2022

Carbonear council has already taken action to try to have a downtown building that was ravished by fire this past spring demolished, but the next step could be the courthouse.

Councillor Peter Snow broached the issue during last week’s public council meeting.

“If their stability should deteriorate rapidly and it becomes a public safety concern, what would be our move to make that situation a little safer?” asked Snow. “Is there something that we could do to stabilize it?”

Deputy Mayor Sam Slade, who chairs the Public Works committee, said the issue is a major concern for the committee, and council at large.

“To be perfectly honest, that’s been burnt out now for a long, long time,” said Slade. “This came before the Public Works committee, and we felt strong enough about it at that point in time to send a demolition order. Being that we’re not seeing any movement, this is the other side of that, and we have to try to push to get these buildings down. And right now, the only way we see how to do it would be to carry on to the next step, which would be to go to court.”

Slade said he was concerned about debris falling from the building, and that some folks are afraid to walk along that area for that reason.

The demolition order mentioned by Slade was issued by the Town in July.

Town Clerk Cathy Sommers said legislation does allow council to take legal action — if they are willing to incur the legal fees.

Councillor Ray Noel asked whether council would be held accountable if it failed to have the business owner demolish the property and a resident was injured.

“Do we have a legal obligation to protect our citizens from this hazard that exists in our municipality?” asked Noel. “This is something we need clarified to get this awful situation addressed.”

He noted there is a nearby cable box with loose wires that could also be called a safety hazard. Noel asked whether the Town can call someone to have the wires removed.

Council did not make any decisions regarding the demolition of the building.

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