Vacant buildings used as hangouts not a current concern: police

By Stephanie Drummond/Journal Pioneer

Published on April 2, 2014

Summerside police.

Eric McMurray/Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE – Young people hanging out in vacant buildings is not a major concern in the Summerside area, say local officials. Deputy Police Chief Sinclair Walker said the city is not aware of any vacant buildings presently being used as hangout spots.

Last weekend, three people died and a fourth was injured after a fire broke out in a vacant building in Charlottetown.

Walker added Summerside did have a problem in the past, but corrected it.

"The old Holland College (Granville Street) was a problem, but it corrected the problem. The owners fenced it in.

"We haven't had any complaints since the fence went in. Those caught can now be charged for trespassing."

City planner Thayne Jenkins said more recently there was an abandoned house in the city's west end being used as a hangout spot, but the city demolished it last fall.

"One was demolished in the west end, and since then we're not aware of any problems," Jenkins said.

Walker said although the city is not aware of any, vacant buildings can be dangerous.

"It doesn't take long for them to gather, and it's always a dangerous situation."

Both Walker and Jenkins said they are not aware of just how many vacant buildings are in the city, but anyone with concerns of gatherings at vacant properties can call the city or police services.