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This dilapidated warehouse stands at the entrance to Fallsview Park. (Connell Smith/CBC)

City inspectors in Saint John have slapped a notice to comply order on a dilapidated warehouse at Reversing Falls, which is among a collection of run-down buildings, and junked trucks and vehicles near the popular tourist attraction.

The order, under the dangerous and dilapidated buildings by-law, is one of the final steps before demolition would begin on the building that stands at the entrance to Fallsview Park.

The co-owner of the property, George Murray, claims the notice is an attempt by the city to pressure him into selling the property.

Murray claims Saint John officials have been trying to buy the two hectare parcel, with all the buildings removed, for several years.

He said he would only sell if the city meets his price — an amount he would not reveal — and he expects to keep his repair business on the site for years to come.

No one from the city was available Wednesday to comment on the move.

Tactics used to distract visitors past property

Tens of thousands of cruise ship visitors passes by the Fallsview Park entrance every year.

Danielle Timmons, a partner at Aquila Tours, said her company has developed a strategy to get tourists past the site.

"We actually train our guides to draw the attention of the bus inwards, and focus on the guide," said Timmons. "So they're telling a really engaging story to get people's attention inside the bus, and not looking at what they're seeing on the drive down there."

Timmons said she would like to see more investment in the Reversing Falls attraction, with an interpretive centre and improved traffic flow and parking.

In 2008, Saint John Waterfront Development rolled out a master plan for the Reversing Falls area.

The proposed $36 million makeover was to include an amphitheatre, interpretive centre and walking trails, however, no work has started on those plans, and there have been no funding commitments from any level of government.

Timmons said for the time being, Aquila had to get creative.

"We really stress with our guides to play up the Reversing Falls rapids and the Bay of Fundy, and what goes on there with the tidal changes every six hours," said Timmons.

"We really try to make the focus on that and away from the way the site looks."