wdr-620-grace-blight

The city's property standards committee on Wednesday granted developer Lou Vozza an extension to clean up the site of the former Grace Hospital. (CBC)

Windsor's property standards committee on Wednesday granted developer Lou Vozza an extension to clean up the site of the former Grace Hospital.

Vozza has until Nov. 30 to ensure the property is free from fire hazards and unsafe conditions, which includes asbestos.

Vozza argued he needed the extension because it's expected to take a month for an environmental assessment to determine whether there is asbestos in the old hospital site.

The property standards committee also ruled Vozza must provide security personnel at night to prevent people from entering the property.

The committee heard from Dr. Carole Henri who likened the property to Afghanistan and said she found homeless people squatting in the building.

Vozza admitted people have lived in the building and stolen items and material from the site in the past.

'It's time for you to be responsible. You have no place to hide now.'— Jim Evans to Lou Vozza

Committee chair Jim Evans took the opportunity to scold Vozza for his handling of the situation.

"It’s time for you to be responsible. You have no place to hide now," Evans told Vozza.

"I’m taking responsibility," Vozza responded.

Vozza calls property 'real pain'

Evans told Vozza he has a valuable property on the west end that’s having a huge economic impact on the neighbourhood. Vozza was to redevelop the property into a long-term care facility.

But the province pulled the 256-bed project from the developer in June when the project failed to meet government deadlines for financing the construction.

The province eventually awarded the project to Schlegel Holdings Inc. which will instead build the facility in LaSalle, across from the Vollmer Recreational Complex.

Wednesday, Vozza said the province's decision was unfair and called the property "a real pain."

'It can't stay the way it is. Something has to happen there. It's not fair to the neighbours.'— Lou Vozza

"It can't stay the way it is. Something has to happen there. It's not fair to the neighbours," Vozza said.

Several deadlines during the initial redevelopment were missed.

"That’s true but a lot of them haven’t been under my control but this one is under my control and we’re going to get it done," Vozza said.

He said several parties are interested in acquiring the property.