Council votes to tear down unsafe building

Prince Rupert City Council has decided to demolish a derelict building located on the edge of the city's downtown core.

Prince Rupert City Council has decided to demolish a derelict building located on the edge of the city’s downtown core. The blue triplex at 1001-1003 third avenue has severe structural problems and parts of it are open to the elements.

The owner had recently asked the council for more time so it could be repaired and turned into a business. The council decided to wait and have a building inspector get inside and take a look before making a decision. At the council meeting last Tuesday, the building inspector’s report said that the building was not safe to occupy.

The owner of the building, Chris Proctor, bought the property with the intention of fixing it up and turning it into a bed and breakfast. But Proctor found that the building needed much more work than he had funds for. From the outside the building looks bad enough. The building’s concrete patio has crumbled away from the sidewalk, leaving a ravine between the building and the street. Much of the wood on the outside has become mouldy and rotten, and much of the debris in front of the back entrance seems to have fallen off the building itself.

But when the city’s building inspector finally got inside the building – not a straightforward thing to do considering that Proctor didn’t even have a key to his own building – they found that the inside of the building has basically been destroyed. Council knew one of the building’s problems is that parts of it have been open to Rupert’s constant rain, and it shows.

Photos taken by the building inspector and presented to council show a residence that has looks like it has rotted from the inside out. The floor is covered with debris, the rafters in the ceiling are clearly visible as it has disintegrated over time. Everything seems to either be rusting or eaten through by mould and rot. Property like pots, dishes and a partially full bottle of dish soap of whoever lived there last, remain where they were left. The inspector apparently left the building very quickly for their own safety because the structural integrity of the building was questionable at best.

Originally, Proctor estimated that to repair the building would probably require anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 and had asked the council for time to do the repairs “as funds come in.” That open-ended timeline was met with suspicion from council members who wanted a more concrete timeline for the repairs. Since that meeting though, Proctor has sent a letter to the city saying that he does not have the means to repair the building and that he no longer has any objection to it being demolished.

Making the decision for the city even simpler is that the now has control over the building after it up for sale to recoup $8,100 worth of unpaid taxes. The building went up for sale on September 26 but since there was no bids for it, the building defaulted to the municipality.

Now that council has decided to tear it down, the cost of the demolition will be charged to proctor who has one year to pay that and the backed taxes if he wants the property back. If the demolition costs are not paid back they will have to borne by city and added to the outstanding taxes on the property.