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Cleanup bill at wharf likely coming back to Town of Bay Roberts

Strong winds overturned a section of this Quonset hut located at the government wharf in Bay Roberts early Saturday afternoon.
Strong winds overturned a section of this Quonset hut located at the government wharf in Bay Roberts early Saturday afternoon.

There are still some issues to sort through, but talk at a recent Bay Roberts council meeting seems to suggest the town will need to pay out of its own pocket to clear an area in front of the local government wharf.

Bay Roberts chief administrative officer Nigel Black.

During an intense storm Saturday, March 11, wind ripped through a portion of a Quonset hut. The large piece of metal overturned and blocked access to where boats dock at the wharf, which is located across from where Water Street intersects Cross Road. The piece of metal also damaged a neighbouring private property. There were no reports of injuries.

During the March 14 council meeting, Deputy Mayor Walter Yetman asked what course of action the town should consider, indicating there could be a need to issue a demolition order for what remains of the property, which was reportedly left vacant for quite some time.

Chief administrative officer Nigel Black confirmed the town spoke with the owner of the building, where food distribution company VIP Distributors Ltd. used to operate. He later added the town failed in past attempts to find the building’s owner and start a conversation about having it removed. Following this month’s storm, the owner in question got in touch with the town himself.

“It looks likely that he won’t have the means necessary or the insurance necessary to undertake the repairs, to make the property safe, and/or to clean it up,” Black said. “So it may be necessary for council to issue an order in terms of public safety and also nuisance in health and safety.”

He suggested it would be in the town’s best interests to issue a short compliance timeline with any order directed at the property to expedite the cleanup process. Black noted the CAO and the town’s municipal enforcement officer have the authority to issue a demolition order prior to the ratification of council.

“If that becomes necessary, which I think it likely will, we will issue the order and then have it followed up at the next council meeting.”

After Mayor Philip Wood asked about how the town would proceed if cleanup costs were billed back to the owner, Black confirmed the option of claiming the property through taxes owed could be looked into down the road.

“The owner dodged a bullet,” said the mayor, “because if that had flown a little bit further, someone could have been very seriously hurt.”

Last week, the town was making arrangements to get contractors down to the wharf to assess the cost of removal and cleanup.

“Our most immediate need is to make the property safe,” said Black. “Then it will be access, and then the second thing we’ll look at is the actual nuisance it creates. Once it is secure, hopefully we’ll deal with all of that through one order.”

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