Comment re Blog: Somerset House Concerns on October 10, 2014.
Somerset House has been an embarrassment for far too long. It has been a difficult challenge without a doubt. While the issue was before the courts, no amount of names on any sort of petition would have made a difference. Nothing could be done until the case was settled.
However, the court case has been settled and action must be taken now to redeveloped the site and bring pride back to that prominent corner of our community. One would be very hard pressed to find a single person who does not want this issue to be addressed and remedied as soon as possible. I agree that concrete timelines must be set and adhered to.
That said, abandoned buildings have plagued our community in Somerset for far too long and our current by-laws simply do not have enough bite to deal with the issue. This is something I have been talking about for the last few of years (see my blog post on January 12, Shells of their former selves).
Somerset House is of course an easy political target to take on and will certainly bring those who do some applause and support. But what about 234 O’Connor Street which has been abandoned for over a decade after a fire. There’s the old Koffman Signs building at 146 Nepean Street and the house next door. There is an empty lot on the corner of Bank and Florence Streets since 2005 with an overgrowth of weeds and littered with trash from passersby and a four story walk-up on Lisgar Street that has been boarded up for quite some time. We have abandoned buildings at 50 Bell Street North and 110 Arthur Street as well as a large empty lot on Cambridge Street near Somerset that is starting to look like a forest. Not my idea of good greenspace. Unfortunately, there are plenty more across the ward and the city that are simply not getting the same attention but also need to be dealt with quickly. Enough is enough, time for the City to put its foot down once and for all.
That is what I plan to do as city Councillor starting with a good review of the bylaws currently in place and putting forward clear amendments that will prevent this from happening again.