MacDougall worried parking problem at Bayside stuck in red tape

A large portion of the Bayside Mall's parking garage has been blocked off for months as the malls owners and now the receivers figure out how to fix structural problems. One Sarnia Council is worried they are dragging their feet on a public safety issue.

A large portion of the Bayside Mall’s parking garage has been blocked off for months as the malls owners and now the receivers figure out how to fix structural problems. One Sarnia Council is worried they are dragging their feet on a public safety issue.

Sarnia Councilor Bev MacDougall is worried the people in charge at Bayside Mall are ignoring structural problems at the parking garage at the risk of public safety.

A year ago, the city – which owns the land the mall sits on – blocked off dozens of spaces on the roof of the underground facility citing structural problems. City Manager Lloyd Fennell says the then owner was ordered to fix the problem. An engineering study was done but so far, the repairs haven’t been made.

The mall has since gone into receivership and is in the process of being sold. The city has agreed to consider selling the land with the building, but MacDougall is worried about the state of the parking garage. She says over 100 people use the garage each day and the spaces are important to the downtown core. She’s worried the receiver is simply ignoring the problem hoping the new owner will fix it. And she doesn’t want that to happen.

“It’s time these people get it fixed,” says MacDougall. “I don’t want to see it stuck in the endless process of being fixed up.”

“I want it to be safe and I want it to be fixed up.”

“The issue has been sited and should be dealt with in a timely way,” says MacDougall adding if something happens, those parking spaces will be gone and “we have no money and no fees to replace those spaces.”

But Fennell says the problems must be fixed since the orders have been issued by the city and are registered on the title of the building. “They (the potential buyers) will know it and they would be obliged to fix it…it has to be corrected under the Building Code,” says Fennell. “Part of the action we took issuing the orders doesn’t allow it to be shoved under the carpet.”

Fennell says the receiver is now in the process of doing another engineering study before undertaking the repaired which could cost upward of $700,000.

– Heather Wright

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