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Burned Red Deer building will hopefully be repaired by year's end: city official

A burned awning is still affixed to a vacant downtown Red Deer building that was fire damaged in 2021

A burned awning is still affixed to a vacant downtown Red Deer building that was extensively fire-damaged in 2021. Melted plastic and broken glass can still be seen on the ground.

Two months ago, the City of Red Deer determined it would take over the exterior repairs of the privately owned structure on 48th Street. The derelict building had been contravening the city's Community Standards Bylaw for the last two and a half years, since a fire caused extensive damage in October of 2021.

 As the property's owner had missed a previous six-month deadline that the city had imposed to have the structure's burned exterior cleaned up and repaired, City of Red Deer officials decided in May to step in to ensure these repairs are finally done.

Inspections and licensing manager Erin Stuart had stated the expense will be recouped by adding the cost to the owner's tax bill.

So far, the burned out building is unchanged, with debris still melted to the ground in front of it.

After hearing reports of broken glass and melted plastic on the sidewalk on Tuesday, Stuart said city crews would be sent out to remove them to "make sure the building is safe."

But she added "a number of complexities" are preventing the city from immediately removing even the tattered awning.

For privacy reasons, Stuart said she could not divulge what these were as this enforcement file is still open. However, she added court processes can often be involved related to this kind of work being undertaken.

Twelve months ago, in July 2023, city officials reacted to squatters living inside the burnt-our property by boarding up the charred building that once housed the Casa Pergola Restaurant, offices and retail shops. 

The City of Red Deer gave this property owner a six-month deadline to make repairs including having the tattered awning removed, the exterior re-stuccoed and the missing windows and doors re-installed.

But no action was taken, despite extensive talks with the owner, Stuart stated.

As to when Red Deerians can expect to finally see some remediation happening on this building's exterior, Stuart said on Tuesday, "We're hoping by the end of the year."








Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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