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October 28, 2017 3:50 am

Council In Clean Up Mode

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 @ 4:00 AM

Prince George, B.C.- Councillor Terri McConnachie has sent a message for owners of derelict properties in downtown Prince George “To those folks, we’re comin’ to get ya'”.

The comments were made as Council voted to proceed with demanding the owners of 525 George Street take remedial action on the property by demolishing what is left on that site, properly fill and level the site, and remove all debris.

The property was the scene of a fire just a couple of weeks ago, after homeless people had made their way into what is left of the foundation on that site.

Council has the ability, under the Community Charter, to demand a property owner take such action, and failing such action, have the work done and charge the amounts to the property owner’s tax bill.

Mayor Hall is leading the charge on this one “I spoke to the DBIA about a week ago around the need for us (Council) to take this kind of action. I think it sets a precedent it sets an example that we’re serious about downtown. The City Manager knows my frustration, the day of the fire, it was time, and it is time. There are other properties we need to look at downtown but this is a great start.”

The City has been trying to contact the property owner but has had no response. Council has voted unanimously to give the property owner until June 26th to clean up the property and failing that, the City will step in and take the steps necessary that will allow the City to get the work done with the hope of having the site cleaned by no later than the end of July.

This is not the first time Council has ordered a site be cleaned up.

  • Sept. 2008 Council ordered the demolition of what was left of the burned out Columbus Hotel on Third.
  • June 2009 Council ordered the owner of a building at the corner of 2nd and Quebec to rip down the building that had been the scene of a fire in May of 2007
  • Nov. 2009, Council ordered a neglected townhouse property on Westmount¬†be demolished
  • Sept. 2011 Council ordered clean up action on two residential properties, one on Tofield, the other on Redwood

“When it comes to these kind of things I have no patience” says Mayor Hall. There is still the matter of the two buildings next to Nancy O’s restaurant on Third Avenue that have to be addressed. Mayor Hall has asked Bylaw services to get some details on what the plan is for the former HomeWork building and the adjacent property which were gutted by fire.

Mayor Hall says there are other properties on George Street that need to be dealt with, and he wants to take a serious look at Third Avenue, noting the considerable investment that was made to upgrade that street.

Council also approved a clean up order for a property on North Blackburn Road. The property is littered with old vehicles, appliances and garbage. The owner of that property has been given until July 20th to clean up that property.

Councillor Brian Skakun wanted to know when something would be done about the Lombardi trailer Park. “I know you can only say so much, but people have wanted to know for some time what’s going down.”

The Mayor’s response was a simple “It’s next.”

Comments

Great news! Finally the bull is being taken by the horns! Without this action the downtown – perhaps due to absentee owners not giving a hoot – will never improve! Congratulations to the new team!

I agree. PG needs to raise the bar for Civic Pride!! For far too long we just say boo hoo our city isn’t clean and isn’t much to look at for tourists. Well, local business owners in PG, take some pride!! Paint if your building needs painting. Weed or sweep the sidewalk in front of your building if it needs it. Stop waiting for someone else to do it for you.

If we just made the place look tidy, I bet our image would improve drastically!!

Good job City Hall. Keep it going!!!

well the tough talk is there
do they have the backbone to back up the words….?
not if it is bylaws doing it …..
but one day we may know.

I am glad to hear this news! My question now to Council is what will happen with the numerous vacant lots? Now is the time to act upon the long talked about “Downtown Revitalization Plan”.
While it is great to get rid of these abandoned buildings, there needs to be a plan in motion to fill the vacant lots. We are still sitting on the vacant sites on 6th ave, george st, 3rd ave, Victoria st, an eyesore of an old rcmp bldg, an equally painful partially built “hotel” which we attempted to hide behind a hastily built wall by the library..(I could keep going on many more sites). Clean up IS a great idea, dont get me wrong.. But vacant land needs to be utilized.
If you have a plan, share it. If you dont, maybe now is a good time to listen to public input on where to go with this. PLEASE DO NOT HIRE ANOTHER CONSULTANT to decide what to do with our downtown. I am certain that thete are some inovative ideas out there in tax payer land which you could get for free.

Oh btw… dont welch on the Lombardi promise.. that one alone may buy you guys some more support.

I wouldn’t expect much there. Out of site, out of mind!!

I’m not convinced that our downtown woes can be blamed on a derelict old building.

What a stellar record the city has for a clean up??
I wonder if perhaps the type of non workers who inhabit the streets downtown could be the main contributing factors to the constant degradation of the neglected buildings attracting these so called homeless seeking a comfortable site to settle into for whatever suits their fancy at the moment. The property owners must have an unlimited amount of incentive to spend on a building which is bleeding their money with taxes and utility and insurance costs. Should hang around to purchase some paint to remove the endless graffiti also.
Great to lay the blame on the property owner who faces nothing but increased costs in order to retain ownership of a useless building in this hopeless downtown area. It will take more than this By Law guy to clean up the residential areas as well. I can name a few –one owned by a returned employee who the city just rehired after an absence of a couple years. He has been cleaning up his property for 6 years now–still in the process. Better ask what his pay will be now–and what position he will enjoy. Previous pay around the $150,000.00 a year–now rehired at????? Lots of questions–lets have the answers!

What about that giant dump beside the library that was never finished for the olympics?

I sometimes see homeless peoples clothing inside so at least its getting some use?

All the Olympics tv spots angled cameras away from that spot as well meanwhile all the athletes or anyone in the area could see it clear as day with the wooden “fencing” and metal objects sticking out from inside

Yes–get them to do something about that unbelievable eyesore. Remains year after year, but they would prefer to order a property owner to face a heavy expenditure on cleaning up a 30 foot? piece of property
If they cleaned up the downtown, and cleaned up their own act–perhaps the residents who have messes would be encouraged to clean up also.
The city allows that mess alongside the library, and talks tough to the downtown property owners. Amazing how they will justify their own actions!

The City needs to do some cleaning in its own backyard, there was a article in yesterdays Citizen by Megan Kuklis about ANTS. Megan was told by the City they don’t really care about giant ant hills on their property. Thatching ants live in massive colonies and multiply in their minute attempt to take over the world and they bite. I have phoned the City about this very issue and they don’t even call back. Connaught Hill should be renamed Ant Hill at the base of the Blue stairs you will see a GIANT nest and they go on and on its not a good thing and they need to be dealt with.

I think the City should have some standards for maintaining all vacant properties in the DBIA. The DBIA could police that and the City enforce it if required.

Fencing, such as on 3rd which act as barriers but allow visibility through them. Some of those are or have been broken in the past so they need to be maintained.

The alternative is to create mini grenspaces/parks such as the City-owned property where the Europe Hotel used to be many, many moons ago.

Perhaps the City should clean that up a bit and rent it out to street food vendors.

Street food vendors where the Europe used to be???
Where will the buyers surface from. Most street people are looking for donations-not in line to purchase food. Not really an option.
Another issue—the city should set some standards, the DBIA could police it–and the city enforce it? Now that would take some doing!!! Those vacant properties are frequented in the off hours of the day—and furthermore—the City is not too likely to pay for enforcement on properties they own!!!
Just trying to look at the problem realistically. The burn jobs are really an additional eyesore–but one must realize–clean up is costly.
Action should have been taken years ago. Obviously–answers are not evidenced—either by the public or the city.

j.g. says “Great to lay the blame on the property owner who faces nothing but increased costs in order to retain ownership of a useless building in this hopeless downtown area.”

Why would the property owner hang on to the property if this statement is true. The cynic in me says the owner must be writing off the expenses hoping for a tax payer funded turn around in the re-establishment of property values. Surely, the owners of derelict properties are not hanging on to a losing asset as a contribution to community.

I suggest you check out and inform the manner in which this property can be “written off!”
Obviously uninformed—better check with Revenue Canada.
As for selling it–where would one dig up a purchaser??
WHO is stupid enough to buy the useless piece of ground and hope to develop it into something viable???
It is a loser–not an asset!

At the moment the Europe property is not going to be accessible anyway. However, had there not been a fire there, the Srpuce City Resale was no longer there and Homeworks was about to open up. Nancy O’s has been 3 doors to the west for several years and is successful enough in that location with lunch and evening customers to have been in the process of opening up a related business 2 blocks down.

People walk there at lunch to eat. Had it not been for the fire, it would be a reasonable location to open up an alternative for food vending during the summer months.

You are just putting that negative hat of yours on.

BTW, I think I see more people looking for handouts when I go shopping for groceries. There used to be more sob stories about being caught in PG without gas and having to get to Hixon or Bella Coola or wherever.

@go2pg

The building beside Nancy’Os was going to be their other restaurant. It was to be a pizzaria.

@JG

Remember the old Pizza Rico’s building? well it has been purchased and it will start to be renovated soon. Also, Most of the owners who own the derelict buildings downtown do, in fact, right off their losses. These companies have mortgages on these buildings and all the interest that they are paying goes directly into their losses column.

The city needs to figure out a way to fine these owners more money then they are able to write off. Offer incentives (eg. $15k grant if they turn the upstairs into a inhabitable loft. Kamloops did something similar many moons ago and now people pay $1000-$1500 per month for a downtown loft.

It will take some time, but dt is coming along, I see it every day.

Well, I stand corrected if those old buildings have changed hands and some money lending institution was stupid enough to finance a buyer. I would certainly hesitate to finance something not viable simply so I could possibly write off some interest. where is the money coming from to make a payment. Wonder where the tax dollars come from, and utility fees???
I GUESS I AM JUST NOT TOO SAVVY WHEN IT COMES TO HOW TO LOSE MONEY AND GET WEALTHY!!!
Insurance must be a bit high—but I suppose one could write that off also?? Is that right??
Always willing to learn -am I???
Don’t want to change my hat–too risky!

Pizza Rico’s ….. that is great news. I hope he/she does better at it. I took some pictures from inside in the windows looking out when he had some nice wooden furniture in there. I was transformed into large and older cities with nice heritage cityscapes, like Nelson, Fernie, etc.

The building that Homeworks moved into is one of the better heritage buildings. I remember standing in front of it with some folks from Victoria saying that it is too bad that people around here do not know what they have. I hope there is something left to save. Likely not.

The building White Goose is in is still in good shape. From the 20’s I think.

In order to write something off one has to have a taxable income.

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