An historic building in Nanaimo's south end and a link to the city's past appears to be facing dwindling days.
A report coming before council on Oct. 3 recommends the that city order the demolition of a former commercial building on 236 Haliburton St., known locally as 'Manson's Store.' Built in 1876, it is named after Scottish immigrant Lawrence Manson, who operated the building as a store for more than 40 years until his death in 1944, according to the city.
The legal address also includes an adjoining residence, with the alias address 240 Haliburton St.
The building has deteriorated over the years, to the point where city staff say the structure has to be demolished. The city's building inspector has determined that damage to the building has caused it to lose more than 75 per cent of its value. Under the Nanaimo Bylaw 5693, no one is allowed to repair a building that has lost 75 per cent of its above-foundation value, unless the entire building is brought up to code. The building is on the city's heritage register, but does not have protected status, according to Randy Churchill, Nanaimo's manager of bylaw, regulation and security. The building would be removed within 30 days of the order being issued.
Attempts to make contact with the building's owner, Ken Williams, were unsuccessful. The building appears to be unoccupied, a visit to the site revealed. Nanaimo community and heritage planner Chris Sholberg said the city has sought to have repairs and maintenance done to the building since 2002.
Sholberg said he has had conversations with Williams about the building several times over the years, but says Williams told him that he was unable to complete repairs or work to the building.
A letter to Williams from Sholberg dated July 19, 2012 states that the city's heritage commission intends to recommend that the building be removed from the heritage register, given its "dire condition."
Sholberg said the commission has since voted to do just that, and added the recommendation is expected to come before council in the springtime, when the site may already be cleared.
"It's an unfortunate situation where it looks like we're going to lose this building," Sholberg said.
The heritage register says the shop and house "is a very good example of the type of early commercial building constructed outside Nanaimo's downtown core."
"It is also one of the few surviving commercial buildings located along Haliburton Street," the register adds.
The report was slated to be discussed this coming Monday, but will be put off for two weeks to allow city staff more time to gather information.
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