Posted by: Shawn Menard, Capital Ward Councillor
The two-storey building at 1123-1125 Bank Street has now sat vacant and boarded up for 12 years. It was gutted by fire in 2009 and has been a challenge ever since, a significant concern for us in Old Ottawa South and for small businesses on Bank Street. There has been regular graffiti on the building, bylaw complaints about garbage left out, leaks, animals, and other issues.
Many of you will recall that dealing with this building, and derelict buildings more broadly in Ottawa, was a major campaign issue during the 2018 election. Since then we have held roundtables with the community, worked directly with the property management, and have been working with City staff to ensure that existing regulations are enforced on the West Coast Video site. We have also been pushing for further reforms that would make the long-term cost of doing nothing with vacant and derelict buildings—dragging down traditional mainstreets—untenable for derelict building owners going forward.
Through working with City staff, we have a bylaw review of the regulation of derelict buildings ongoing and we expect a report back in 2022. Previous reforms have not gone far enough, and we are pushing for the City to review and consult on the possible implementation of a permit system (similar to the one that exists in Winnipeg) that will see property owners pay an increasingly large sum of money to the City the longer that they allow these properties to lay dormant.
More Changes on the Horizon
Old Ottawa South is a vibrant and growing community that deserves better, now. As of this writing we are going to be bringing a motion to City Council that would allow for the demolition of the building and would expedite the process.
We are working with the building owner to see this through and to allow for a temporary small park to take its place with grass and soft features, sitting area etc. We are hopeful that this will take place, and that that this crucial first step to seeing this property redeveloped on our traditional mainstreet will be accomplished.
Featured in the June 2021 OSCAR.
Editor’s Note: The following motion was passed at the 2021-05-26 City of Ottawa Council Meeting.
Moved by Councillor S. Menard
Seconded by Councillor J. Leiper
That the Rules of Procedure be suspended to consider the following Motion, as there are community safety concerns and in order to allow the property owner to proceed with demolition in a timely manner and prepare for an interim site plan.
WHEREAS the building at 1123-1125 Bank Street has been empty for an extensive period of time and;
WHEREAS, in the past it has been subject to a fire and;
WHEREAS given its current dilapidated state of disrepair it is desirable to have it demolished and;
WHEREAS Policy 13 of Section 3.6.3. of the Official Plan requires a site plan be approved for demolitions on a Traditional Mainstreet where there is no immediate replacement building proposed that addresses landscaping and associated site improvements that will contribute to the attractiveness of the Mainstreet environment on an interim basis;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the applicant prepare an interim site plan and enter into a development agreement with the City, to the satisfaction of the General Manager of PIED, to address the interim landscaping and improvements to the property after demolition;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, given the long-standing Community and City interest in the demolition of this building by the community, and the support of the Ward Councillor, that all City fees associated with the site plan and demolition agreement be waived.