De­mo­li­tion or­der up­held

Supreme court dis­misses ap­peal to save Car­bon­ear eye­sore


An end may be in sight in a twoyear bat­tle be­tween the owner of The Sur­prise Bag Com­pany and the Town of Car­bon­ear, which wants to rid the town of one of its most con­spic­u­ous eye­sores.

The 21-month row has raged from coun­cil to re­gional ap­peal boards and all the way to the Supreme Court of New­found­land and Labrador.

The lat­est twist oc­curred early last month when the Supreme Court’s Trial Division dis­missed The Sur­prise Bag Com­pany’s ap­peal of an ap­peal board de­ci­sion, which up­held an ear­lier or­der from the town coun­cil to the com­pany to de­mol­ish its build­ing at 234 Wa­ter Street, Car­bon­ear.

Cal Pow­ell, owner of the Suprise Bag Com­pany told The Com­pass last week his ap­peal to the Supreme Court was “the only av­enue open to me,” af­ter the ap­peal board ruled in favour of the town.

While he con­firmed at the ap­peal board hear­ing last fall that he is the owner of the Suprise Bag Com­pany, Pow­ell said last week he is not the owner of the build­ing, and there­fore “there is no per­sonal li­a­bil­ity on my part.” He said that was some­thing he wanted to have clar­i­fied with the board and town.

It’s been over a month since the Supreme Court ren­dered its de­ci­sion, but Pow­ell said he has not yet re­ceived any­thing of­fi­cial in writ­ing on it.

Asked if he plans to de­mol­ish the build­ing, he said he ‘ s not sure how that would work, sug­gest­ing the town may un­der­take the de­mo­li­tion.

While coun­cil has ruled the build­ing does not con­form to its her­itage dis­trict and has deemed it “un­fit for hu­man habi­ta­tion,” Pow­ell said: “we’re still be­ing in­voiced for taxes on it at full value of the prop­erty.”

The Com­pass also con­tacted Sam Slade, but the mayor pre­ferred to re­serve com­ment on coun­cil’s next move un­til town ad­min­is­tra­tor Cyn­thia Davis re­turns from va­ca­tion this week and coun­cil has had a chance to dis­cuss all its op­tions.

Her­itage dis­trict

Lo­cated at the west end of Wa­ter Street at the en­trance to the down­town core, the build­ing is con­sid­ered an eye­sore and a detri­ment to the town’s her­itage dis­trict.

It is also at­tached to the his­toric Rorke Stone­house build­ing, the town’s only stone build­ing and a pro­vin­cial her­itage struc­ture. Built around 1860, the 150-year-old Ge­or­gian-style struc­ture is also one of the old­est build­ings in town.

Busi­ness­man Bruce Bren­nen is in­vest­ing mil­lions in ren­o­vat­ing and restor­ing the stone struc­ture, con­vert­ing it into a high-end res­tau­rant/pub and pizza par­lor on the ground floor; sports/en­ter­tain­ment bar on the sec­ond level and banquet hall on the top story.

The derelict build­ing was con­structed in the late 1950s or early 60s. It is also lo­cated be­tween two of the town’s three mu­se­ums — the Rorke Store across the street and the nearby Rail­way Sta­tion Mu­seum. John Rorke & Sons used the build­ing throughout the 70s as a shoe and cloth­ing store, part of their en­ter­prises, which also in­cluded the stone build­ing. In the 80s and early ‘90s it housed Easy Save, part of a su­per­mar­ket chain owned and op­er­ated by M.A. Pow­ell Ltd.

The sin­gle-storey struc­ture has fallen into dis­re­pair. It’s win­dows are boarded up, paint is scal­ing off the ex­te­rior, and graf­fiti can be seen along the store­front. The glass door to the build­ing has also been smashed out, and re­placed with board.

The build­ing is lo­cated in the

down­town area, which is zoned as her­itage, and does

not meet the town’s ob­jec­tives for the area.

Photo by Bill Bow­man/the Com­pass

This is what greets tourists and vis­i­tors to Car­bon­ear when they cross the beach and en­ter the down­town core and her­itage dis­trict. Coun­cil has been try­ing to rid the town of the eye­sore.

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