Owning vacant and derelict buildings in Thompson just got more costly

Thompson city council added some teeth to the vacant and derelict building bylaw it passed in December at their Feb. 16 meeting, establishing fees for various actions owners of such buildings are now required to take.

Vacant buildings will now have to be inspected at a cost of $260 for the first year and $500 for the second year and subsequent years, provided that no orders under the bylaw are issued. If orders are required the inspection fee after the first year is $1,000 per year, which is also the fee owners of vacant and derelict buildings must pay if the city issues orders pertaining to their properties under the bylaw.

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The base fee for a permit to have a residential or commercial building boarded up will be $2,000 for the first year. A second-year permit would cost the base fee plus an additional $1,500. In the third year it would be the base fee plus $1,500 times two and so on for subsequent years.

“It’s good news for the city, probably not as good news for some of the people who own the buildings,” said Coun, Les Ellsworth prior to the vote, which was unanimously in favour. 

Coun. Jeff Fountain asked if the city owned any buildings that would qualify under the bylaw and if they would be subject to it, to which Mayor Colleen Smook replied that there were three and they would be subject to the bylaw. 

“Two of those buildings were inherited through the tax sale process,” said city manager Anthony McInnis, while the third is the Norplex Pool.

Property owners can leave their properties vacant as long as they wish provided they have an engineer’s report saying the building is safe and pay the required fees.

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