Council debates fate of crumbling eye-sores
As the City of Barrie grows, old buildings are making way for new, but there are still some old, and derelict, buildings left standing.
Barrie council could come up with a new plan for those crumbling eyesores tonight.
Every day, Sue Cadogan and David Bain walk by the empty and boarded-up Lake Simcoe Motel. They've just moved into the neighbourhood and say it’s a sight they're quickly growing tired of looking at.
“I feel sad that this property is just sitting here, especially on a street going straight into downtown,” Cadogan says.
The old motel is one of many empty and abandoned buildings across the city.
“It just can't sit here in oblivion while the rest of us have to look at it,” says Coun. Bonnie Ainsworth.
The empty buildings have caught the eye of Ainsworth, who is now calling for action. Tonight city council will look at a plan that could require the property owners to maintain and repair the buildings or be demolished if nothing is done over a certain period of time.
“It’s to set a time limit to get some control over when a building has been abandoned and how long it’s able to stand,” Ainsworth says. “It could be five years.”
The City of Orillia began taking action last month in demolishing abandoned buildings that were deemed unsafe. The city doesn't have to own the property because Ontario's building code allows the demolition if the owner doesn't maintain the building and there is a safety risk.
Heidi Moraresh is hoping Barrie council will consider taking similar steps. For two years she has been asking the city to do something about the abandoned building next to her business.
“Nobody wants to look at that beside you,” she says. “You don't know what's going to happen. Somebody could get hurt.”
The city is expected to discuss the issue tonight.