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Council to decide fate of derelict building demolition and redevelopment incentive

'I would suggest the committee put the weight of the rebate on the post-redevelopment phase, rather than the demolition'
2020 05 01 Sands Motel Crop (Stu Campaigne)
The former Sands Motel on McIntyre Street East. File photo: Stu Campaigne

A program designed to encourage owners to remove and redevelop derelict residential and commercial buildings and help prevent illegal dumping has passed the public meeting stage.

The proposed Planning and Building Department amendment to the Growth Community Improvement Plan (GCIP) — the Landfill Tipping Fee Grant will be put to a vote during the regular meeting of North Bay City Council tonight. 

The grant is intended to give property redevelopers demolishing a primary building a rebate for the tipping fees required at the landfill.

The initial staff report states, "The landfill tipping fees may act as a barrier and lead to illegal dumping and/or derelict buildings. This program is intended to be used as a last resort and property owners are encouraged to maintain their buildings to a high standard and conduct regular maintenance."

For more information, including a map of the Housing Target Area, click here.

Property owners would see half of the rebate when the building is demolished and the other half if it is replaced with new development. The proposed program would provide a full rebate of up to $50,000 for sorted material, or, half of the landfill tipping fees up to a maximum of $25,000 for unsorted material.

Coun. Chris Mayne raised the possibility of tweaking the rebate ratios to protect the City's investment in the project.

"If the incentive is to grow tax assessment, I would suggest the committee put the weight of the rebate on the post-redevelopment phase, rather than the demolition," observed Mayne. "As Deputy Mayor Vrebosch mentioned, we're actually encouraging people to take down houses, pay less in taxes and we're not going to re-establish that assessment until there is a new structure in place."

Coun. Scott Robertson sought to clarify the types of buildings intended for the landfill tipping fee incentive.

"When people apply for this, not everybody is going to be accepted," he observed. "We're going to be targeting derelict and vacant buildings, right? We're not going to be knocking down apartment buildings that are perfectly fine, that people are living in and are gathering assessment. This is meant to target derelict buildings that are having multiple adverse effects on the community, am I right?"

Beverley Hillier, Manager, Planning and Building Services confirmed Robertson's questions.

"This is focused on derelict and rundown buildings. Our goal is always to see people renovate and rehabilitate their homes," said Hillier "It does apply to commercial buildings, as well, so focusing on the core of the city or areas where there are [sort of] major issues related to derelict buildings and provide some incentive to see those rundown buildings," addressed.

According to the City's GCIP outline, "The primary objective within the Housing Target Area is to encourage infill and intensification of housing developments within the 'Residential Intensification Area' of the City...financial incentives will be available to applicants who are increasing the net amount of residential units within their existing residential building such as secondary units. The Housing Target Area will help to facilitate a range of housing types, which may help to encourage affordable housing, aging in place, and accessible units."

Council will vote on the amendment during Tuesday's regular meeting, which immediately follows the 6:30 p.m. committee meeting. Meetings are live-streamed and made available on the City of North Bay's YouTube channel.