A little under 4 years ago, I expressed optimism that the old GM plant would be redeveloped, and that the City could help expedite the process. Clearly, my cautious optimism was incorrect.
While the demolition of the building got off to a quick start, clearly the development has stalled and we are currently left with what is essentially an abandoned industrial site in the midst of a tear-down.
The City has taken all the steps that are legally available to it short of expropriation. As explained by our City Treasurer in a recent Standard article:
“…when a tax arrears certificate is registered it starts a one-year process for the city.
Before the year is up, the owner of the property must pay the taxes owing in full to avoid a tax sale.
“Once a property has been registered, we need to receive full payment of all taxes outstanding. We can’t accept any partial payments,” said Douglas, explaining the city is able to enter payment agreements with an owner before the property is registered.
If the city doesn’t receive the payment, a final notice is sent to property owners 280 days after registration warning the owner of a pending tax sale.
Once 365 days have expired with no payment, the city is in a position to advertise the property for a tax sale. It has to advertise in the Ontario Gazette for four weeks prior to a tax sale and then have a public tender opening. The city opens all bids it receives and is required to take the highest bidder on the property.
The minimum tender bid is the amount of outstanding taxes.”
So at this stage – the City has better secured the site (which had been in disrepair) and has issued orders on the site which, if not fulfilled, will add to the tax bill. The hope now is that either Bayshore moves forward with their plans after paying their back taxes (which seems unlikely), or that the property is sold to a reputable developer.
The rumour is currently that scenario #2 is occurring, and that a transaction of the property may happen in the future. Given the time and energy that has been spent dealing with the current dilapidated site, I can only say that I will work in whatever capacity necessary to see this property properly revitalized into something our community can be proud of.