Town gets tough with property owner

Darrell
Darrell Cole
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Applying to court to order building repaired or removed

Town gets tough with property owner

AMHERST - Amherst is stepping up efforts to force an absentee landlord to fix a downtown building.

The town's director of planning, Jason MacDonald, confirmed Tuesday the town is in the process of applying to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to force the owner of the former police station on the corner of Victoria and LaPlanche streets to either fix the building or remove it.

"We're making the application to have them declare it unsightly and we're asking them to get him to fix it or tear it down," MacDonald said. "If he decides to tear it down, he has to follow the Heritage Property Act."

The application is expected to go before the court later this month. If the court rules in the town's favour, the town can fix or repair it or start fining the building's owner, Tang Dynasty Investments, on a daily basis until the work is complete.

"Having the Supreme Court order it is not entirely different than having the town order it, but there's more clout," MacDonald said.

The sidewalk around the building continues to be barricaded after a complaint to the town's dangerous and unsightly premises committee and subsequent engineering study found a potential safety hazard in the building's brick faÇade.

MacDonald said the town has not received any indication from the building's owner as to what his intentions are and a deadline to fix the building passed in November without any action.

The town, he said, doesn't want to see the building removed because of its heritage value. But, unless it can be repaired MacDonald said it's going to have to be demolished.

Tang was quick to have the former Bird's Drapery Building on Havelock Street repaired when a complaint was received about loose brickwork on the front of that building. MacDonald figured Tang moved because it was easier and relatively inexpensive to fix that building while the former police station needs more extensive work.

"No one knows if the police station is a $1,000 fix or a $100,000 fix. If you go in and fix one brick, do you move to the next one? We don't know the scope of the problem," MacDonald said.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Supreme Court

Geographic location: Victoria, Havelock Street

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • anita
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    i hope its fixed soon,i live on laplanche street and when i leave my place to go to town i got to cross the street ,and go and use the other sidewalk,its getting me peed off.what about people properties who have junk in there yard ,old cars etc,do something about them.

  • Jeff
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    This Building should be a historical landmark, and it should never be torn down, I agree , this should be turned into a museum, how about we tear down the town hall ,, im sure a few people wouldnt mind.

  • Chris
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    It would be a shame for this building to be torn down. I'm not sure the age of it, but I'm sure it's at least 100 years old. It is a nice looking old building and adds character to the downtown, amidst the other older, beautiful buildings. Although I do agree it could be a money-pit, it might be worth it.

  • HB
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    That's a real shame. Kudos to the town for acting, but from what I understand the building is too far gone to save. If it had been maintained at all, roof kept tight and other issues addressed, it would have been OK but now the only way of saving it would be to save the outside facade and basically build a new building inside of it. In other words, way too much money for any commercial building in Amherst.

    This whole thing brings up a good point. Owners of heritage buildings appear to be able to do whatever they want, including nothing. On one hand I see the point that it's their property, but on the other hand cases like this point out just how much it affects everyone else. Perhaps there should be some kind of covenant or regulations these owners must adhere to.

  • Another 2 Cents
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    If someone is willing to fix it up and put it to good use go ahead, bit not with my tax dollars.

    Perhaps a new modern building to attract business to the downtown would be more beneficial than an old run down one!

  • Earl
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Why doesn't the town buy they old building , fix it up and use it as a museume, or some type of tourist attraction, because i know that build is on a few signs and pictures, Let not tar down our history, save what we have left.

  • Jack on the rocks
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    One thing is for sure.You can bet your last dollar that Mr.Tang will not fix the property.Just have a look inside the old Legion.The top floor has been on the bottom and second floor since the pipes broke after him purchasing the building.Don't waste the court costs,heritage or not,knock it down.The town can't afford to fix it and try and make a go of it.

  • Jack on the rocks
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Hey Jeff,maybe you would like to send home some Calgary cash to help make it a museum.But NOT on my tax dollars.Make Tang pay,or bring the Demo Company!!!!!!

  • Steve
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I believe that any unoccupied building within the Town of Amherst taxation area, should be subject to twice the tax rate, once the building was vacant for a year or more, that would stop some of these kinds of ownership issues.

    IMHO as always

  • Ron
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    The town of Amherst versus a chinese millionaire? I put my bet on Tang.

  • Joe
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    wow the town instead of wasting time debating the creation/effectiveness of new by-laws, instead now opts to use existing legislation!! About time.

  • troy
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Hey anyone know Tangs ### I have some property i would like to sell him,,lol Between him and Wells we could all make a sale!!

  • Greg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Pave paradise, and put up a parking lot!

    Just kidding. I have always thaought that building would have made a good restaurant, but is now too far gone. to do anything with. Alex Tang has displayed an utter lack of interest in actually doing anything productive with any of these buildings, so it's good to see that steps are finally being taken.

    One final question ... what purpose does a heritage property designation serve if not to protect the heritage value in that property. If heritage buildings are going to be owned by private interests, they should have to abide by strict, and enforceable guidelines to ensure that heritage is preserved. Otherwise the designation is useless!

  • Milk
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I think that this should be converted to a resteraunt, we all know this town needs another one, not jsut fast food, like a fancy one, maybe Duncans could relocate? Just a thought!

  • Henry
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Good work Amherst, let's see this kind of initiative keeps going! It would be nice to save the building, but without knowing the costs to repair I don't think we should buy it. Hopefully it's more advantageous for the current owner to fix it - it is a part of our heritage.

  • Judy
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I agree with Milk Man. The town does need another upscale restaurant, duncans is great just too small. Imagine what it could be with bigger space!

  • Joe
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    to Jack:

    If the town demolishes it, it will be on the tax payers dime. The court proceedings are on the tax payers dime. Any resulting action because of said court action will be on the tax payers dime. Don't be fooled this is an expensive process with little chance for recooping these expenditures.

  • Ed
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    It would be nice if the taxpayer could afford to save all the heritage buildings in Town , but we can't. The Town of Amherst sold this building years ago because it couldn't afford the $250,000.00 fix. I think I see a bottomless pit. :-)

  • Jack on the rocks
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Hey Joe,a lot cheaper to knock it down than restore.I'll pay my taxes for that.