City staff has passed an order requiring remedial action on a building that was severely damaged by fire last fall. Trevor Crawley photo.

City council orders remedial action on vacant buildings damaged by fire

City council has issued a remedial action order relating to vacant buildings that were severely damaged by fire last fall.

Cranbrook mayor Lee Pratt read out the order during Monday’s city council meeting, declaring the property at 120 6 St. N a nuisance and unsafe, following a fire that consumed much of the building on Oct. 17, 2020.

The property, a main building and separate building that contains a well, has been closed since 2005, and was previously operated by Kootenay Springs Ltd. a water bottling plant, according to city records.

City staff are also concerned about a potential building collapse, particularly if anyone is inside taking shelter from the elements, and the liability issues that could pose.

A provincial government ministry is also conducting an investigation regarding the well, according to city staff.

“I’m glad to see that staff has taken a position on this,” said Councillor John Hudak. “This building has been a problem and we’re sitting on a very dangerous situation here if something isn’t done. I think it goes a long ways also to show the community that we’re trying to clean up some of our problem sites in the community to make our community more aesthetically pleasing.”

The order requests that the owner, Knox Water Company, demolish the main building or present a report from a structural engineer outlining a plan and timeline for restoring the buildings. Additionally, the order requests that the building containing the well be brought into a structurally sound condition as well as to remove any chemical contaminants.

If action isn’t taken within 30 days, whether seeking a demolition permit or presenting a structural engineering report with a remedial plan, the city will take action on its own at the expense of the property owner, according to the terms of the order which are set under the Community Charter.