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Councillor considers expropriation of Somerset House

With the building's owner not going ahead with repairs, the area's councillor thinks it's time the city consider buying the property.
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Somerset House
Somerset House (google maps)

A downtown eyesore that's been sitting in disrepair for more than a decade has one city councillor ready to take "extreme" action.

The owner of Somerset House, at the corner of Bank and Somerset, has decided to not move forward with plans to fix it up. The city is stepping in to brace and close up the building before winter approaches, and plans to recoup the costs by billing the owner through the building's property tax bill.

"They are going to ensure that repairs are taken, that the building -- for at least this winter -- is sealed," said Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney.

McKenney says that a notice will be given to the owner, warning him that all the heritage attributes need to be repaired and replaced -- including the building's bay windows.

Given that the building's owner is not going ahead with repairs, the area's councillor thinks it's time the city consider buying the property.

"Expropriation -- although it is an extreme measure -- we've done it before," McKenney told 1310 NEWS. "The city did it in 1985 with a building on King Edward, and it's something that we have to be prepared at some point to pursue."

McKenney says she would love to see the neighbourhood eyesore turned into a community hub -- possibly a library branch.




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