Vanier is seeing a lot of new development. A welcome investment in our community, especially when it comes to renewing vacant buildings.
Long since the issue of derelict buildings has haunted us in this Ward. Many are left abandoned, with no end in sight of new development. The problem then falls on the community – to worry about when the vermin issue, fire or trespassing, rests on the Vanier community’s shoulders.
Over the past year, thanks to the help of the Vanier Community Association, we have identified a number of vacant buildings that were obvious and considerably challenging. We are now working towards a resolution on each abandoned or derelict building in the neighbourhood. The list is long, but shrinking. Some are fire sites. Some are boarded up and left to rot. Finding the owners, getting them to comply or to respond or request demolition has not been easy, it is a collective effort. However, I am happy to say there have been some great success for buildings that have long been a bother.
To name a few that are likely in your mind as you read this, 309 Montfort Street, 374 McArthur Avenue, 10 McArthur Avenue, 43, 45 McArthur and 356 Mayfield Street, 29 Marquette Ave., to name a few, are progressing well.
With the support of Council, I moved multiple motions to expedite demolitions of these and other vacant buildings in Rideau-Vanier. Some are currently under review with the City; others have been demolished. In each instance, I have asked the owners to pre-bait for vermin to help mitigate any potential rat problems that could come with a demolition.
It hasn’t been an easy task – and the list is long – and with each property, there is also the question of development – but let’s take this down brick by brick. First, it is essential to highlight the issue that you and my team have successfully realized, there are not benefits to having a vacant building in our community, only risks. The next layer is to track down the owners, whether willing or needing some direction, we have once again some success in getting owners to work with my team and the City to advance demolition.
Finally, there is the actual demolition – sometimes this takes time. Even with a motion to help expedite the permit process, the owner must work with the City to demolish and have a construction crew lined up for the work to begin.
But we are getting there – and I am confident with the commitments I have received from owners and the City that we are moving the yardstick in the right direction.
The City’s bylaw, legal and building code groups are all engaged to advance the vacant building demolition objectives.
With willing owners we have progress. The challenge remains with owners that are less active and often hard to reach. That is where the City’s enforcement body need to remain on top of property standards and maintenance infractions which remain a resource challenge across the City.
The next step for some of these properties may be development – and as always, I will work with the community to ensure the type of investments meet the community’s character.