The Village of Granisle is taking the first steps toward demolishing a derelict former shopping complex by entertaining bids from companies to remove asbestos from the structure.
Money to deal with asbestos has included in the village budget this year following steps taken last year to clear the way to demolish the 82 Hagen St. structures after years spent trying to convince owners to clean up the property or have them demolish it altogether.
“In order to move to demolition of any building, there needs to be a determination of whether or not there is asbestos present,” explained village administrator Sharon Smith of the village’s latest move.
“In this case, there is some presence of asbestos and before any work can be done there must be some asbestos abatement done – which is quite a costly process.”
The village is now evaluating bids from companies interested in taking on the asbestos removal task.
As to the larger task of demolition, Smith said there is no provision in this year’s village budget to do that work.
“We are still planning to move forward with this and remain hopeful that the property owners may step forward to address the community’s concerns,” she said.
“A letter has been sent to the owners to inform them of our intent to proceed with next steps. We haven’t received any response from the owners at this time.”
Once a shopping hub in Granisle, the mini-mall complex began to fall into disrepair as businesses closed, beginning a years long struggle by the village to have the owners either make repairs or remove the buildings.
Last year, with all attempts having failed to have the owners voluntarily comply, the village issued a notice giving the owners 90 days to first apply for a demolition permit, to have one issued and then to carry out the work followed by cleaning up waste, debris and discarded material.
The village was aided by a building inspection carried out by a Smithers company which assembled a long list of repairs needed for each building ranging from replacing deteriorated concrete blocks to replacing membranes on roofs to prevent further leaks.
But village staffers looked at the assessed values of the buildings and in a memo to council as part of a lengthy package of information concluded “estimates of the cost of repairing the buildings far exceed the assessed value of the buildings.”
And as part of the council motion last July to order the owner to demolish the structures, it declared “the buildings to be a nuisance …. because the buildings are so dilapidated and unclean so as to be offensive to the community.”
“No action has been taken to suggest that the owner will repair, renovate and use either of the buildings in the future,” part of an information package to council at the time stated.
Under the Community Charter which governs local governments, the village can take the structures down and then add the bill to the owners’ property taxes.