Stuck with the bill

Har­bour Grace mayor fears de­mo­li­tion job could cost res­i­dents $68,000

The Compass - - NEWS - BY DENISE PIKE

The mayor of Har­bour Grace is con­cerned a di­lap­i­dated build­ing in his town could end up cost­ing tax­pay­ers an arm and a leg to tear down.

Don Coombs fears the de­mo­li­tion fee may run as high as $68,000 and the town may get stuck with the bill.

The build­ing, the for­mer Kyle’s Land­ing Ho­tel, lo­cated at the cor­ner of Wa­ter and Vic­to­ria Streets is at least 50 years old.

Coombs con­sid­ers it to be a sig­nif­i­cant safety haz­ard.

“Over the past two years some kids and peo­ple have been ac­cess­ing it and tear­ing it up,” he said. “It is a real death trap and coun­cil is con­cerned some­one is go­ing to get hurt, killed, or start a fire.”

Coombs says up un­til about 15 years ago, the build­ing was used as a ho­tel, for­merly known as Pike’s Ho­tel.

“It had a great rep­u­ta­tion and was known all over the is­land. It was like the New­found­land Ho­tel is to­day, many dig­ni­ties at­tended func­tions there,” he says. “In its day it was some­thing else!”

The build­ing was sold a num­ber of times and for the past 10 to 15 years has been used as a tav­ern.

Around two and a half years ago gov­ern­ment ap­proached the town coun­cil and re­quested they close the busi­ness.

Coombs ad­mits the build­ing was run down, but says coun­cil had been mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion and was work­ing with the owner to clean the place up.

“I told them (gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives) that we’re not in the busi­ness of clos­ing down busi­nesses,” he says. “I mean we knew the place needed some work, but some ef­fort was be­ing made and I didn’t feel coun­cil had the right to just go in and put the locks on the build­ing.”

How­ever in 2008 rep­re­sen­ta­tives from four gov­ern­ment de­part­ments took the mat­ter into their own hands and closed the build­ing.

“A few peo­ple strolled into the build­ing, closed it down and walked right out again and that was it!” says Coombs. “I doubt if they even both­ered to check to see if the door closed be­hind them as they left.”

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