Sudbury

Sault city council aims to clean-up old hospital that's become 'an abomination'

Two northern Ontario cities are both dealing with an old hospital that's become an eyesore while waiting to be re-developed into condominiums. One city is hoping to take some action.

Sault Ste. Marie city staff studying options for ridding old hospital site of rats, graffiti

Some of the old Sault Area Hospital on Queen Street has been converted into condominiums, but the rest has become an eyesore that city council wants to do something about. (Anthony F. Barsanti/Sault Architecture)

Sault Ste. Marie city council says one property is making the entire city look bad.

"I think this building is an abomination to our waterfront and frankly is becoming a bit of a disgrace in our city's natural beauty," city councillor Matthew Shoemaker said Monday night of the old site of the Sault Area Hospital on Queen Street.

"Something has to be done sooner rather than later."

The 20-acre hospital complex, which once housed the Plummer and general hospitals, was purchased by Toronto-based developer TVM Group in 2013 for $65,000. The property had been listed for $4.9 million two years earlier.

'No light at the end of the tunnel'

Some of the buildings have been converted and there are now 40 condo units on site, but the rest has fallen into disrepair with graffiti, rats and pigeons among the many concerns listed by neighbours.

"If the building is compliant with our property standards, there's a problem with our property standards,"  said Mayor Christian Provenzano.

"It looks terrible. It's a poor reflection on our community."

Sault Ste. Marie city councillor Susan Myers tabled the motion which asks city staff to look at what powers the city might have to force the owner to clean-up the prominent property on the St. Mary's River.

"There's a bit of an extraordinary situation that seems to be each year getting worse and worse with no light at the end of the tunnel here," she told council.

The owners of the Riverwalk Condominium project could not be reached for comment.

The plan to convert the old Sudbury General Hospital into 210 condominium units is moving ahead, but more slowly than Panoramic Properties had first expected. The company hopes to begin construction on a new wing to the building next spring. (Erik White/CBC)

Sudbury is facing a similar situation with the old general hospital, also known as St. Joseph's hospital.

It closed in 2010 and was purchased by Panoramic Properties, which moved ahead with plans to convert it into 210 luxury condominiums.

But work has been delayed and neighbours have tagged the prominent property overlooking Ramsey Lake as an eyesore.

Greater Sudbury city councillor Fern Cormier, who represents the area, says an extensive review of the property standards bylaw was done last year and staff determined that the hospital is "an active construction site" and not an abandoned property.

Cormier says the owner has been very responsive to fix broken windows, clean up graffiti and erect fencing when concerns are raised.

No one from Panoramic Properties could be reached for comment. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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