Saint John orders demolition of heritage home
City's unsightly premises bylaw supersedes heritage protection designations
A report from city inspectors says while there are rules protecting designated heritage properties, the city's dangerous or unsightly premises bylaw supersedes them.
City officials decided to tear down the building on Orange Street after a compliance order to make numerous repairs was ignored, and attempts to reach the owners failed.
The two-story wood building is open to the elements and badly damaged — the back door is wide open, and the yard is littered with stuffed furniture, toys and other debris. Windows are broken, and daylight can be seen through the porch roof.
"It does get scary staying here," said Kim McGee, a neighbour of the property.
"Thinking some night you can get up in the middle of the night and the place can be on fire, and there's nothing you can do because nobody's living in it, and there's no insurance."
"It's a disgrace to the neighbourhood," said Coun. Gerry Lowe, who represents Ward 3, where the home is located.
"You look here now, whether it's heritage or not, I mean if the Pope lived here I'd still want to tear it down. It wouldn't bother me any," he said.
Lowe contends the home has been in such bad shape for so long, there is no likelihood anyone would have been able to fix it up, even without the extra measures required for heritage designation.
"It wouldn't matter where it was, it just has to come down," he said. "I mean the Christmas tree lights are up from 10 years ago, and there was a tarp on the roof and it's shredded, so everyone gets a piece of that on their lawn or in their windows.
"To tear down and start new is cheaper than trying to go in and fix this place up … It's only unfortunate it took this long for us to get through the system, the legal jazz to get something like this taken down."
Lowe said the building will come down in a couple of weeks, after the city collects tenders from contractors interested in doing the job.
It is estimated it will cost the city between $20,000 and $25,000.