SUMMERSIDE – Safety concerns and bylaw violations are what halted a downtown development, say city officials.
In a prepared statement issued Tuesday, the City of Summerside issued a response to public statements made by Roger Wells in a recent news story about issues he has had with the city in redeveloping the former P.E.I. Bag Company building.
The project involved renovating the building to be used as a winter car and motorcycle storage area and as a museum for antique cars that could generate funds that would be contributed to four local charities.
The city charged Wells with bylaw violations and the case is in court.
“As this matter is currently before the courts, the City of Summerside is limiting our public discussion of the details of this case at this time,” the statement begins. “The proper place for the disclosure of facts and evidence and for debate is in the court room.”
The City of Summerside’s top priority is to protect the health and safety of our residents and visitors to our community. Our building bylaws are in place to protect property owners, adjoining property owners and the health and safety of the public at large.”
City officials say they are supportive of new developments that re-use older buildings. “This offers great value to our community,” the city said. “However the re-development of older structures must still comply with structural, electrical, plumbing and fire considerations, it is a matter of public safety. The City of Summerside has made every attempt at various points in this process over the past year to cooperate with Mr. Wells and support him with compliance.”
Wells complained that the inspectors told him some of the work he was doing was prohibited by municipal bylaws unless he acquired a compliance permit from the city.
“They wanted drawings for the building, electrical, mechanical, sprinkler systems and I didn’t agree with anything they were asking me to do,” he said.
Wells said he was told he was removing load-bearing beams from the building but he contends that the beams were not support beams.
He said the issue has now developed into 16 charges, because he continued to refuse to abide by a compliance permit, involving thousands of dollars of fines.