Demolition order upheld on 106th Street

A long-standing eyesore on 106th Street in North Battleford looks like it will finally see the wrecking ball.

On Monday, council unanimously upheld a demolition order on a property at 1102-106th Street.

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Property owner Zia Homes Ltd. had appealed the demolition order, asking for more time to repair it from outside and inside. But the property has posed problems for years, and administration made clear their belief that the property was not likely to be repaired up to standard.

Public health had placarded the property on Oct. 10, 2000, citing broken window panes, wires hanging loosely in the basement and no floor coverings on the hallway floor, according to a city memo.

The property was placarded again on September 17, 2008 and on Oct. 22 of that year was recommended to council to be demolished as “unsanitary and unfit for human occupation.” But the placard was removed on Nov. 20.

It was then inspected again in 2020 as part of the derelict properties in North Battleford. At council Monday, City Planner Ryan Mackrell showed pictures from the building inspector of the state of the building, which was in considerable disrepair.

According to a copy of the demolition order, the building was described as being in “severely sub-standard condition” with broken windows, missing siding, broken doors and boarded up windows and doors. The garage was not secure and the left hand corner connected to the house was no longer stable. The inside of the house was not in good shape at all, according to the building inspector.

“The property is kind of past that renovation stage,” said Mackrell. A building permit has never been taken out on the property so “general repairs have never happened at this property.”

The demolition order was due Oct. 1, 2020, and Mackrell said administration had “no reason” to believe the property would be repaired or fixed.

Council agreed unanimously it was time to demolish the building. Mayor Ryan Bater noted there had been numerous complaints about the property from neighbours over the years.

Councillor Greg Lightfoot noted nothing had been done at the property since 2008 and felt they had to uphold the demolition order.

“There’s been nothing but complaints on this building for the last ten years that I know of,” said Lightfoot. “I think it’s time to go.”

Councillor Kelli Hawtin questioned why it hadn’t been addressed earlier, asking “have we let this property slip through the cracks at some point.”

Mackrell suggested this might have been one of the properties where “the benefit of the doubt was given to the property owner too much.”

It was noted procedures to deal with derelict properties have improved. Fire chief Lindsay Holm noted that Public Health will now notify the fire department with respect to those orders, and also noted the nuisance abatement bylaw had changed significantly to allow them to issue orders on these properties as well.

City Manager Randy Patrick also noted a big change now is that council has told administration to deal with these buildings. Patrick also indicated this wasn’t the only derelict property they would address: “We have more to come” he said.

Bater noted dealing with derelict buildings is now a council priority. He said they have seen more action on derelict properties in the last three months than “probably my entire time (on council), certainly the last several years.”

Councillor Kent Lindgren directed his fire towards the property’s owners for failing to do any upgrades over 20 years while still renting it out.

He called it “quite insulting, I think, to us as a council and our community. And so I will be happy to vote in favor of this demolition order happening quickly.”

As for when the property will be demolished, Mackrell said after Oct. 1 they will have the “ability and the right to knock the property down.” They were to get in touch with the property owner about following through with the demolition order, and to be prepared after Oct. 1 to “do it ourselves.”

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