LET’S be clear. City council was more than justified in ordering that three derelict buildings be torn down.
Still, there are a number of points worth considering.
First, their location. All three are on Little Ave. (named after city founder George Little), a little known street just east of the Sportsplex.
Tucked away at the bottom of Birch Hill, Little Ave. is more of a one-lane graveled affair than a city street, full of potholes and arguably as derelict as the three buildings ordered torn down. If the city can order buildings demolished, who can order it to maintain its streets?
And if these buildings were located in more visible areas of town, would efforts to either have them fixed up or torn down be drawn out for so many years? And where will the city strike next? There are any number of buildings in the same condition as the three Little Ave. properties. Can the city continue to ignore them?
Lastly, and most importantly, is how these buildings are being used. One recently had at least one tenant. One still has tenants.
There’s a nagging feeling that these structures may be the default location for housing of the last resort for people on the lowest of the rungs of the socio-economic strata, Terrace’s version of the downtown eastside of Vancouver.
If that’s the case, then the tear down orders should rightly start the debate about what constitutes proper housing and how it can be provided.