Downtown corner can’t stay derelict

Imagine what Commercial Street could be with the south side of the intersection done properly with new development.

To the Editor,

It was with heavy hearts seven months ago when we had the fire downtown that caused so much devastation to the businesses and individuals involved.

As the owner of Inprint Ltd, adjacent to the fire site for the last 37 years, I feel very lucky and thankful that I escaped any major damage.

When everyone was watching the fire unfold that night, it was interesting, yet not surprising how many people I talked to who expressed how it should have been the old A&B Sound building that should have gone up in flames. We now have the most prominent corner in the downtown core as a complete mess and eyesore. It will be interesting to see how long it stays in this condition. What I find disturbing is how long the city has allowed the A&B Sound property to be such a hazard and eyesore for our downtown. If I am not mistaken, when a residential property is deemed messy and hazardous to neighbouring properties, the city gets involved and tells the owners to clean it up and if they do not comply then the city does it for you and bills the owner for the work. My question is why the city does not take this position with the said property, especially on such an important corner of the downtown. Was Commercial Street not voted to be one of the best in a national survey a couple of years ago? Imagine what it could be with the south side of the intersection done properly with new development.

It has taken a tragedy from the fire to now allow the city to explore new possibilities for this very important intersection. If the city does not want to force the owner’s hands to deal with this mess, then maybe it should strike a deal to buy the said properties at a bargain and do something the city would be proud of instead of just being happy in collecting property taxes for another 10 years on what is now a derelict eyesore.

Come on down, I hear there is a sale on smoke-tattered lingerie.

Craig PalinNanaimo