Halifax neighbourhoods left with eyesores when renos go awry
Neighbours are irked by 'rundown, derelict, abandoned' buildings
The construction cranes may be toiling in downtown Halifax, but across the metro region there are residential projects where work has ground to a halt.
Whether it's due to permit issues, structural problems or legal disputes, some projects go off the rails and end up as neighbourhood eyesores.
Renovations on a home on Poplar Street in Halifax began last spring, but the work stalled and the house went all winter without a roof after the contractor apparently found rotting wood.
"It looks like a rundown, derelict, abandoned, roofless house in the middle of west-end Halifax," neighbour Pam Sullivan says.
"They started working on it and then they just disappeared. It's been snowing and raining on it for a good long time now."
Sullivan questions why the city allows properties like these to deteriorate.
Jim Donovan, the manager of municipal compliance for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said permits last for two years and the city will also get involved if there's been no work for 11 months. If there's a problem, he urges neighbours to call 311 with their concerns.
"It's a delicate balance between being too aggressive and not responding," he said.
But some properties have languished for years as work starts and stops.
'It's just a total eyesore'
On Oxford Street, a former marine equipment store is a magnet for vandals. Work on the upper level, which contained apartments, began a few years ago and windows and shingles were replaced. The roof was taken off but work then stopped.
"This building has been — for lack of a better word — derelict now for three, four, five years," neighbour Simon Roberts said.
"I've owned the property next door for 10 and for at least seven or eight of those years it's been in this state of graffiti-covered disrepair.
"Every time they take the graffiti off, the next day the graffiti is right back up. It's just a total eyesore."
In south-end Halifax, work stopped nearly two years ago on a house known in the neighbourhood as the "monster house on Bellevue."
The Bellevue Avenue house is partially built, but construction was suspended after neighbours complained about the size.
Coun. Waye Mason said the city made a mistake to allow a home so big to be built in the first place. Weeks after construction started a stop work order was issued; the city acknowledged its mistake and told the developer the home must be smaller.
"Here it sits," Mason said. "It's at the point now where … I don't think that it could be completed. I think that it's in bad enough condition that it just can't be done."
There's a remediation order on the home and the next step is demolition, which must first be approved by an appeals committee. It's unclear if the city or the owner will pay for the house to be bulldozed.