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Harbour Grace votes to take ‘er down

By Mark Squibb

Readers may well remember shopping at the Canadian Tire store in Harbour Grace many moons ago, but the now empty building, at civic address 1 Harvey Street, has fallen into a state of ruin and disrepair.

Shop windows that once displayed products have been boarded up for years, and the building looks as if a strong gust of wind might knock it down.

Discussions around the council chamber about what to do about the structure date back as far as 2021, when concerns about asbestos abounded.

Councillor Brendan Chafe this week informed council the town’s fire department had inspected the building and determined it was unsafe to enter in the event of a fire and is at risk of both collapse and fire.

The department recommended the structure be either repaired or demolished.

Chafe moved that council advise the owner that council will move ahead with demolition of the building.

“It’s open to the elements, the building is folding in on itself, and someone is going to get hurt there one of these days,” said the councillor.

The Town can use a provision of Bill 54, the new Towns and Local Service Districts Act introduced in 2023, to take it down, and try to recover the cost from the property’s owner.

Under that Act, council can order the demolition of a structure so long as an architect, engineer, building inspector or fire chief has declared the building dilapidated or structurally unsound and there is no evidence presented to the contrary.

Harbour Grace council had long petitioned for such authority in the case of dilapidated buildings.

Councillor Terry Barnes deemed the motion long overdue, and council unanimously approved demolition of the building.

“Thanks be to God for the legislation of Bill 54,” concluded Mayor Don Coombs

The cost of the demolition was not noted.

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