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Committee approves demolition of historic Magee House

October 4, 2018
Laura Osman, CBC News

The city’s built-heritage committee has given the owner of Magee House approval to tear the historic building down, ideally before the snow falls.

It’s tragic that it’s come to this, committee members said, but a city-hired engineer has deemed the building too dangerous to save.

“This building is a touchstone to our past. It’s gone now,” said Coun. Jeff Leiper, who is running for reelection in the ward.

The west wall of 1119 Wellington St. W. crumbled suddenly in late July, posing a serious safety risk to the public and the owner, Ovidio Sbrissa, who was living there at the time.

Sbrissa told CBC he had hoped to save the building, but recognizes it may no longer be possible.

While the building is stable for now, that could change when winter sets in, according to a report by John G. Cooke, an engineer hired to assess the building.

Businesses and residents are also keen for the building to come down sooner rather than later, since the fencing surrounding the structure is still blocking the sidewalk on Wellington Street.

City staff will give the owner until Nov. 15 to demolish the building once council approval is secured.

If the building is still standing after that date, the city’s building code officials will need to decide if it poses a threat to public safety. If so, the city can order the demolition and attempt to recoup the cost from Sbrissa.

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