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No report ready on problematic property

The owner of 349 Little Harbour Rd. has been given two weeks to provide a structural analysis report on the house located at that address.
The owner of 349 Little Harbour Rd. has been given two weeks to provide a structural analysis report on the house located at that address.

The countdown is now on for the demolition of a house in north end New Glasgow. At its committee meeting Tuesday, council voted to recommend a demolition order for the residence at 349 Little Harbour Rd.

Daniel Thompson, the owner of the property, was ordered in September to provide a structural analysis report – something he was unable to provide council.
The demolition order specifically requires Thompson to have the house demolished in 30 days. Bylaw enforcement officer Troy Baker explained to council that if Thompson does not demolish the home by that time, the town will step in, carry out the demolition and forward the costs to the property taxes.

After a brief exchange between Thompson and council, it was determined that he did not take reasonable measures to obtain the requested structural engineering report by Oct. 3.

When pressed for an explanation for why he was not able to provide a report, Thompson indicated to council that he spoke to an expert, and that to his knowledge from that conversation, the source of the problem was a structurally significant beam of wood that needed to be replaced.

Coun. Troy MacCulloch said, “I’m afraid there’s more to that than just the beam. We can’t just go on a conversation you had – that’s why we needed the report.”

Coun. Jack Lewis, whose ward the property falls within, expanded on the matter, saying Thompson wouldn’t be capable, on his own, of doing the necessary work to make the house habitable.

“When you do a foundation, and things like this, you need permits. Then, once it’s completed it needs to be checked by a building inspector,” said Lewis. “This is a big job, and I work construction and see this stuff every day.”

One of the biggest concerns expressed by council and town staff was that the issue has been ongoing for several years – and after all that time, and opportunities to assess and deal with its many problems, the home still remains uninhabitable.

Lewis pointed out that it has been seven years since the house originally became a problem, after a structural engineering report on the residence was requested from Thompson in 2010.

CAO Lisa MacDonald said there are numerous concerns from concerned residents in the area, describing it as a dangerous and unsightly property, “so council is trying to get a remedy plan in place, where they have to make a decision” on the matter.

Lewis said that even with a full crew, the proper clearance and equipment, the work required to rectify the issues would take weeks.

Thompson responded by saying that no crew would want to work on a house that was going to be torn down, suggesting that more time was needed to make it habitable.

Lewis reiterated that it has been seven years, with nothing done to rectify the problems with the house.

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