The City of Fort St. John has begun the final steps in the process to acquire the property surrounding the historic Fort Hotel.
The previous owner had until just after 10 a.m. Tuesday morning to pay all back taxes owed to the City to have the property returned. However, the property realtor, Kevin Pearson, had commented on energeticcity.ca that the owner had chosen to â€˜donateâ€™ the property to the City.
Since the taxes owed were not paid, the City must now have all the required paperwork approved by the provincial land title office- a process that could take several weeks – to be able to officially take over the property.
Once the transfer occurs, the City will begin the required cleanup of the area.
One major problem with the propertyâ€™s cleanup is asbestos contamination. Asbestos was commonly used in building construction until the early 1980s. As a result, any company employed by the City to conduct the cleanup has to be able to deal with potentially hazardous materials.
The City will put out a tender for the cleanup, however, in anticipation of taking over the property, it brought in a firm awhile ago to give an estimate on how much the remediation would cost. The City has now budgeted $250,000 towards the cleanup.
Once the cleanup is finished, Mayor Bruce Lantz says the City will probably hold public meetings to decide what resident would like to see on the property. He says residents will finally see the culmination to what has been a long process.
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Afterwards, Lantz says the City will put out a request to potential buyers for the land, with an understanding of what the public would like to see on the property.