For several months, Sandy Hill residents have expressed concern about the unkempt state of the former Niger embassy at 38 Blackburn Ave. that has sat vacant for about a year. Over the course of the summer, growing weeds and bushes testified to the lack of exterior maintenance. The fact that electricity service had also been cut off implied that there was no maintenance inside either.
Well, there may be good news at last. The City has added this property to its Vacant Buildings List and a Property Standards Officer issued orders to clean up the property. The front yard was mowed in late August. Now that the property is on the list, it will be monitored quarterly for any violations to the Property Standards Bylaw.
The house is on a block that is being considered for inclusion in a new Heritage Conservation District. The values that this District is meant to protect will be compromised if owners let their properties literally go to seed.
This problem, alas, is not exclusive to Sandy Hill: there are 27 properties currently on the City’s Vacant Heritage Buildings List, including five in Sandy Hill (70 Nicholas, 197 and 201 Wilbrod, 231 Cobourg and 38 Blackburn).