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Council lowers the boom on dilapidated buildings in Bay Roberts

By Craig Westcott/September 2, 2021

Four properties will be demolished with the wreckage dumped at Robin Hood Bay Landfill according to a vote passed by Bay Roberts council last week.

Deputy Mayor Walter Yetman, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor Philip Wood, who is recuperating from surgery, laid out the process that led to council having to take the action.

Orders to remove or repair the structures were issued on July 7. Paper copies of the orders were laminated and stapled to the buildings at 22 South Road, 18A Mercer’s Cove, 359-365 Conception Bay Highway, and 26-28 Mission Lane on the same day and also sent to the owners by registered mail. The demolition orders were ratified by council on July 20, and local contractors were contacted to provide quotes on demolishing the buildings and disposing of them properly at the landfill. Two bids were received. Yetman said council is taking the action under Sections 404 and 413 of the Municipalities Act.

Councillor Geoff Seymour noted that in the case of the property on the Conception Bay Highway, the former Payless Fuels gas bar, the owner responded and said he has no plans to do anything with it. “So legally, are we still able to act on this?” Seymour asked. “The other concern about that property is, is there anything in the ground that we would need to be aware of?”

“That I don’t know,” admitted chief administrative officer Nigel Black. “We haven’t done any site investigation, or anything like that. We leave that up to the contractor to determine what they’re dealing with, but we don’t know.”

Black pointed out the contract is to remove the building, nothing else.

Seymour also asked whether the costs of the demolition will be recovered. Black said the costs will be billed to the tax accounts of the particular landowners. “And we will pursue it through our various means of collection,” Black said, adding the owner of the Conception Bay Highway property will also remain liable for any environmental issues.

Riverside Excavating Ltd., was the lowest of two bidders which offered to do the work. The motion to approve the demolition contract, which was approved unanimously, was made by councillor Silas Badcock and seconded by Seymour.

In other development news:

  • An application for a commercial occupancy permit at 84 Conception Bay Highway was approved. “This is to receive approval on moving their commercial business from one location to the other,” said Deputy Mayor Yetman. “This building is currently being renovated by the owner to move from a single family residence to a commercial professional services use. The recommendation from our director of protective services is for council to give approval in principle based on any Service NL requirements for the project, with the completion of a fire and life safety inspection prior to the business opening.”
  • An application for approval to conduct infilling and construction of a new boathouse was approved, but not without some reservations.

Yetman reported that council served a dilapidated building order to the property owner last month. “He informed (us) that he plans on renovating or removing the structure, infilling and building a small boathouse with a wharf for personal use,” said the deputy mayor. “There is an application attached dating back to September 2015 where the applicant submitted this plan to council. It was approved pending approval from Crown Lands.”

At that time, Yetman added, Crown Lands approved the application provided the structure is not greater than 20 square metres and is confined to a single story.

“Protective services director Justin (Parsons) is recommending to approve in principle pending approval from Service NL for a permit to alter a water body, along with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ approval to carry out the proposed plan with the reduction of the structure to meet the regulations of 20 square metres maximum,” Yetman said.

When questioned how long the existing structure could be left in its condition, given that the matter is already on the go six years, CAO Black said the Town can still push ahead with its demolition order, which is separate from the application for infilling and a boathouse. “He still does have a timeline associated with removing the building,” Black said. “This permit (for a wharf and new building) is good for another two years. I don’t think council wants to look at the dilapidated building for two years, so we will still continue to enforce the dilapidated building order with this current timeline.”

The back taxes on the property will also have to be paid before a permit for the new structure is issued, Black said.

Put to a vote, the motion to approve the application carried.

  • An application for a commercial occupancy permit at 182 Water Street was approved. The site houses Kelly’s Landing. “This is an existing commercial space. The business has already been in operation. It’s a change in ownership and no renovations are required,” Yetman explained.
  • An application for a commercial occupancy permit for 237 – 240 Conception Bay Highway Unit 2 was approved. The location is in the Abcom Building.
  • Finally, a discretionary use application from 2 Holmes Road to change the occupation from a single family dwelling to a convenience store was rejected. The report from the protective services office noted the application did not meet the five requirements for such an application in that particular zone. Two of the stipulations were that the property have enough off-street parking for at least five vehicles and that it not interfere with the street’s traffic flow.

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