GANDER, NL – The Town of Gander’s plans to have a section of a strip mall on Elizabeth Drive demolished will have to wait.
An appeal for two out of the three slotted properties – 283 and 287 Elizabeth Drive - was issued within the 30-day grace period following the order being issued. Property owner Richard Freake, who filed the appeal, could not be reached for comment.
Back in January, council signed off on a demolition order for the destruction of 283, 285 and 287 Elizabeth Drive, the middle components of the strip mall across from the town’s recreational area. Council had ordered the removal citing safety concerns and its unsightly appearance, placing focus on the building’s roof caving in and overhang falling from the building.
The building is in such a dilapidated state, the fire chief issued an order that prevents department members from entering it.
The ends of the building – which currently house two businesses – one for sale, the other operational – have been deemed to be in acceptable condition by the town and would not need to be torn down.
While the Town of Gander has declined comment, Coun. Rob Anstey previously stated council had pushed for building repairs at this location in the past, but have been unsuccessful.
The matter will now go to the Central Newfoundland Regional Appeal Board.
But that may take some time, as there is no such board in place. Only one out of the five appeal board positions is filled. With four vacant positions, the minimum requirement of three members to carry out reviews cannot be met.
A statement issued by the Department of Municipal Affairs in April indicates the shortage is being addressed.
“The process of appointing new board members to the Central Regional Appeal Board is nearing completion,” read the statement. “Appeals are being accepted by the Secretary for the regional appeal boards and will be heard in chronological order of receipt when new members are appointed.”
At the April 11 public meeting of council, Mayor Percy Farwell said every citizen has a right to appeal a decision, however, the proper mechanisms need to be in place to move matters forward in an efficient manner.