Three Rivers Council will demand the owners of four properties in Montague and Georgetown, one of them the province, to either demolish or repair their dilapidated buildings.
A motion was passed during the Committee of Council meeting at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown Monday evening to draft and send registered letters to the owners to request their cooperation. The properties are deemed either an eyesore or potential health and safety risk to the public.
Montague and Georgetown are the only communities in Three Rivers with municipal bylaws dealing specifically with derelict or abandoned properties. If a property owner fails to take action by a specified date, the bylaw allows the municipality to complete the demolition and place a lien on the property to recover costs. The lien would legally require Three Rivers’ costs be paid by a buyer or seller before the property could be sold to a third party or parties.
However, it’s not economically feasible for Three Rivers to contract either a tear-down or rebuild for at least one of the properties in Georgetown, Holy Trinity Anglican Church. The property was taken over by the province for taxes owed and the cost of demolishing it is estimated to be upwards of $500,000.
Residents living near the church at 45 Victoria Street regularly see shingles and other building materials strewn across the church lot and beyond. There is a concern of injury from falling debris for children cutting across or playing on the property. There is also a fear the massive church bell, still hanging in the crumbling bell tower, could fall as well.
While deconstruction of the church may not be on the province’s agenda, in hopes the building will be sold, Three Rivers Council wants to see cautionary tape and signs posted on the property.
Also in Georgetown, a dwelling at 65 George Street is viewed as a health threat, with crumbling basement walls and overall deterioration. Council was told the building has been taken over by rodents. Three Rivers could expect a full recovery of costs through a lien on the property.
In Montague, two properties were listed for remediation by the owners or an involuntary tear-down by the municipality.
Old buildings and derelict vehicles were removed from a property at 9 Riverside Drive between 2014 and 2018, following a request for action under Montague’s Dangerous and Unsightly Properties bylaw, but there are outstanding violations, council heard.
Neither the former town of Montague or Three Rivers have had response from the absentee owners of the fourth property, located at 133 Elm Street, although the violations and call for action were presented to them in writing in July 2018.
While it is expected compliance from the province on addressing the dangerous conditions at Holy Trinity Church will be handled differently, the three remaining property owners will receive registered letters from Three Rivers administration requesting compliance.
Three Rivers’ intent to arrange the deconstruction of the three properties, with expectations of a full cost recovery, will also be made clear in the correspondence. July 5, 2019 was set as a deadline for a response to the orders.