The District of Sooke will demolish an unsafe downtown building because no action was taken by the owner.
Under a remedial action order issued by district council Nov. 18, the owner of the “Tin Grotto,” which has major structural issues, had until Jan. 18 to either make the building, at 2076 Otter Point Rd., structurally sound and safe or demolish the structure before the district stepped in to do the work.
In September, a municipal staff report stated the building was unsafe, citing a central beam in the building had dropped two feet. Prior to that revelation, there were complaints of rat infestations and materials stacked inside and outside the building.
To protect the public, the district council ordered the remedial action from the property owner.
On numerous occasions, the building’s owner Dennis Woodward of Denwood Holdings Ltd., ducked the district’s attempts to serve him with the legal papers.
(Woodward did appear before council in November with a convoluted plan to save the property. He claimed parts of the staff report were untrue, while at the same time admitting losing interest in doing what was necessary to save the property).
“Council was resolved on this decision and the community now just wants it to make it happen,” Mayor Maja Tait said.
The district will issue a tender to demolish the building, but the costs are unknown until contaminants on the property can be assessed.
The cost of the demolition will be put on the taxes of the site if the owner does not pay the bill. If the taxes are not paid, eventually the property would go to tax sale.
This is the second time that a Sooke property owned by Woodward has faced demolition.
In March 2017, another of his holdings at 6723 Ayre Rd. was cited under the unsightly premises bylaw. That move forced the building’s demolition as well.
The Tin Grotto was constructed in the 1940s by Bill Lindley, and served as Sooke’s first machine shop. Later it was converted to Sooke Trading, a sort of eclectic market of all manner of used materials before shuttered a decade ago and left vacant since then.
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