Alix village council mulled its options on a dilapidated property with a large unpaid tax bill, and eventually settled on bulldozing the structure to aid in its sale. The decision was made at the Aug. 2 regular meeting of council.

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White updated councillors on the status of a problematic property linked to a large unpaid tax bill. 

“4904 47 Street was transferred to the village in Feb., 2022 as a result of the tax recovery process,” stated White in her memo to council.

“It went through two public auctions and when a real estate agent was contacted to list it for sale they declined, feeling the property was unsafe for habitation.” 

White stated the village has two options, including listing the existing property for sale or demolish the existing structure and listing the empty lot.

The CAO noted as far as the village knows the property has no liability such as asbestos or contamination, and the year of construction for the structure was listed as 1912, over 100 years ago. 

White noted if councillors chose to demolish the structure an inspector would be hired to look the building over first for things like asbestos.

“The reserve bid/price for the property is $29,500,” stated White. 

“Demolition costs would be added to the tax roll and would be recovered upon sale of the property. Provided there is no asbestos or other contaminants requiring abatement measures, the cost of outstanding taxes and demolition would both be covered with the sale price of $29,500.”

White noted an advisor at Municipal Affairs recommended getting a health inspector to look over the building in any event simply to get an objective opinion on the building’s suitability for habitation.

During discussion, it was obvious 4904 47 Street has an ominous reputation in Alix. 

“The haunted house,” said Coun. Barb Gilliat. “It’s supposed to be haunted.”

Haunted or not, White elaborated that when a real estate agent visited the site, the agent refused to enter the building citing safety concerns. The CAO mused that perhaps the dilapidated condition of the structure is discouraging potential buyers who may be interested in the lot itself.

Coun. Ed Cole suggested getting rid of the unattractive building could also help the neighbourhood. “And we’ll probably make all the neighbours happy,” said Cole.

In the CAO’s report it was noted the property not only has a tax debt associated with it, the property continues to cost taxpayer money as village staff are cutting the grass and maintaining the property.

The CAO noted certain rules remain in place for handling of this property as it remains in tax forfeiture status.

Coun. Gilliat was optimistic that if the building was removed the vacant lot could be attractive to buyers. “It’s not a bad area over there,” said Gilliat, noting it’s a big corner lot across from the school.

Councillors unanimously passed a resolution that the Village of Alix will proceed with health inspection and demolition of the tax recovery property located at 4904 47th Street.

It was noted by the CAO however that if demolition plus tax arrears exceed the reserve bid amount of $29,500, the demolition will be suspended and the structure’s fate will once again return to the council table.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 10, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

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