London

Pile of bricks next to London business leads to concerns about vandalism

Cedric K.T. Cheung, the owner of the Institute of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture on Wellington Street, says a pallets of bricks from the old church next door have been left sitting in the yard for six years.

Bricks left out in the open have been used to break windows, damage property, business owner says

Cedric K.T. Cheung, the owner of the Institute of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, says this pile of bricks has been left outside of the old church next door for six years. (Robin De Angelis/CBC)

A London business owner is concerned about ongoing property damage and vandalism, because of a pile of bricks sitting out in the open next to his property.

Cedric K.T. Cheung owns the Institute of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture next door to the former Wellington United Church on Wellington Street.

Cheung said pallets of bricks from the old church have been left sitting in the yard ever since the building underwent construction six years ago.

When he asked the owner to remove the bricks, Cheung said nothing happened.

Cedric K.T. Cheung owns the Institute of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture on Wellington Street in London. (Robin De Angelis/CBC)

"I've been very patient," Cheung said. "It used to be a good church. I have good respect for that, so I have been waiting, year after year, and yet they have taken no action."

The property now appears to be vacant, and Cheung said he isn't sure who owns the building anymore.

The Wellington United Church closed in 2011 and moved to a new location under the name Rowntree United Church. According to the church's website, the property next to Cheung's business was sold in 2012. It is unclear who currently owns it.

In the meantime, Cheung said, vandals have used some of the bricks to shatter the church's windows. He also believes bricks were used to break a light in the parking lot behind his building and to damage a small storage shed in the yard.

Broken bricks and shards of glass from a nearby window sit on a step outside the church building, only a metre or so from one palette of bricks. (Robin De Angelis/CBC)

Cheung said he has had to chase away several people he's found wandering around the church property near the pallets.

"I told them to leave, you know. I said I would call the police," he said. "Many times."

Cheung said he brought his concerns to city hall two years ago. When he followed up with the bylaw office again earlier this year, he said he was told to wait until summer, "when the ground was more solid."

"Then they could have the trucks come in to remove the bricks," he said. "And yet summer is here and still no action is taken."

The bricks are unsecured and clearly visible from the sidewalk along Wellington Street. Cheung says he's threatened to call the police when he's caught people wandering onto the property. (Robin De Angelis/CBC)

According to a city spokesperson, the bylaw enforcement office has given a formal notice to the property owner to remove the bricks by Aug. 13, or the city will have them removed and disposed of.

Cheung said he worries every day he will find more damage on the property, while he waits for something to happen.

"I hope the city will do something about it. I hope they do something quick [and] remove the brick," he said.

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