Dilapidated buildings in Portapique cause for concern, say residents
PORTAPIQUE - Some Portapique residents are gravely concerned about the condition of at least four vacant properties in their community.
Lifelong resident Bernie MacLellan said it's time the municipality steps up to the plate to have the buildings demolished.
"They are virtually at the extent now where they are a safety and fire hazard and the municipality should clean them up," he said.
One of the locations causing concern is on the East Montrose Road, the burned remnants of a building destroyed by a Halloween night blaze.
Three other buildings are located on Highway 2, the main road passing through the community.
"They are a safety hazard to start with and if somebody gets in there and it falls on them, they could be killed," said MacLellan.
There are also esthetic concerns about the buildings' poor state. Some feel the dilapidated structures give travellers a false impression of the area as a downtrodden, impoverished community.
"We are trying to promote tourism out this way and this doesn't do anything to help," said Marilyn Webb, co-ordinator of the Great Village Farmers' Market. "This year we've invested a lot of money on marketing this area."
MacLellan feels it may also be having a negative impact on the price of real estate and the community's ability to attract newcomers.
"It's just an eyesore," he said. "Who is going to want to buy a property with that dump next to it?"
Disgusted by the state of the buildings, Webb and her husband Gary, along with MacLellan and other community members, have sought help from local government
Tom Taggart, county councillor for the area, said he is pleased residents are submitting a compliant to begin a process to have the buildings demolished or repaired.
"There is no question the buildings are dilapidated and need to be cleaned up and it probably should have been done a long time ago," said Taggart. "I can't see any reason why those building wouldn't be considered unsightly, but that would be determined by the building inspector as part of the complaint process."
The councillor has determined the identity of the property owner but said it was too early in the process to disclose that information.
If the properties are deemed unsightly the owner will be given about 30 days to remedy the situation. If no action is taken a demolition order will be issued as determined by the building inspector. Taggart said there could be a seven-day appeal period and if no action is taken the municipality could move forward with the demolition holding the property owner responsible for the cost.