End in sight for rubble?

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Contrary to some predictions, the town has already been given legal permission to do something about two unsightly properties in Slave Lake. These are two former hotels, damaged by fire and partially reduced to rubble in the firefighting effort.

There have been strident calls for the town to ‘do something!’ about the unsightliness. But where private property is concerned, the town can’t just send in the bulldozers.

There’s a legally-mandated process that must be followed; the owners must be given ample opportunity to do the work themselves. All this has been reported – more than once. Word from the town was that it could take “many months” to get permission to do anything from the courts.

So it came as a pleasant surprise when Vance’s report to council on July 2 contained the following:

“We were granted court injunctions to clean up the two hotel sites in town.”

The court has given the property owners until Aug. 1 to clean the sites up themselves. If they don’t, after that date the town is authorized to enter the sites and do the work.

“We hope to have them both cleaned up by the end of the year,” said Vance.

Why it might take that long is because an assessment of the hazards will have to be done before any demolition, Vance said, and that can’t be done until August. All of that is assuming the owners don’t act; based on their performance so far, they probably won’t.

If the clean-up by the town goes as anticipated, the cost of the work would be billed to the owners. Whether it would ever be collected is another thing. Vance called it “a whole new saga once we start with that.”

The two properties in question are the former Lakeside Motor Inn – located next to the Boston Pizza – and the Highway Motor Inn – located on 14th Ave. SW, next to Whitecap Recreation.

Councillor Darin Busk asked if the demolition the town does (assuming it gets to that) would be only of the already-destroyed sections, or the whole works. Vance said there is no plan at this point.

“My strategy overall would be to make it look decent,” he said.

This eyesore might be gone by the end of the year.

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