1310 News: More delays for Somerset House restoration

By Jenn Pritchard

Councillor Catherine McKenney is disappointed the Somerset House restoration conditions were not met, yet again.

The building at the corner of Somerset Street and Bank Street is an eyesore and it's not going to change any time too soon. 

The city's Built Heritage Sub-committee has given the owner of Somerset House until the end of June to get a work contract signed for the heritage attributes. 

That work would see the bay windows and turrets removed and then repaired or replaced if necessary. 

But, there is still some concern coming from the area's councillor. 

"Even with a signed contract we could still be dragging our feet for six months, a year, two years," explained Catherine McKenney. "I was quite clear that I don't want to be back here in a few months talking about this again. I need something done on Somerset House." 

McKenney said she wished the city was more aggressive when it comes to heritage properties falling into disrepair. 

"We can not just continue as a city to sit and wait and twiddle our thumbs and hope that this property owner is going to move forward and do the right thing." 

If the contract is not signed, the city will be able to issue a summons for non-compliance. McKenney noted that they could also look at expropriation options if there is no movement soon. 

In a perfect world, McKenney would like to see Somerset House restored to its former glory. She'd like to see a retail space on the main level and then housing on the top floors. 

The councillor explained that the boarded up building is having an impact on the area. 

"Bank Street, Somerset Street are beginning to thrive. We've got new businesses, we've got so many new people living in the downtown and this continues to be a detriment." 
 

Catherine McKenney