The Sooke Trading Post, also known as the ‘tin grotto’ was not spared the wrecking ball despite a plea from the owner. (Tim Collins / Sooke News Mirror)

No last minute reprieve for Sooke’s Tin Grotto

Sooke council sticks to its guns regarding “the eyesore” on Otter Point Road

An attempt by the owner of the former Tin Grotto on Otter Point Road to set aside a municipal demolition order for the building was rejected by Sooke council Monday night.

The structure was earlier dubbed a dangerous eyesore.

Dennis Woodward, of Denwood Holdings Ltd., titleholder of 2076 Otter Point Rd. property appeared before council to plead his case, saying he was prepared to do whatever was necessary to renovate the property so he could sell or lease it to someone else.

“I’m somewhat annoyed,” Woodward said, acknowledging there was a lapse on his part in failing to sell or lease the property earlier.

“But I think there’s been a lot made of statements simply not true.”

Woodward’s pleas that the situation was a “real burden” and he paid too much for the building did little to move councillors from their Sept. 9 decision to declare the building a nuisance and order its demolition.

RELATED: Council orders demolition of Tin Grotto

“I’ve seen nothing here today to change my mind on that decision,” Coun. Al Beddows said, noting he didn’t see the possibility of a successful renovation of the site.

Mayor Maja Tait agreed.

“We’re resolved on this decision and the community wants us to stick to that decision. It’s time for all of us to move on with the property, yourself (Woodward) included.”

It’s not the first time Woodward was forced to demolish one of his buildings.

In March 2017, council cited another of his holdings at 6723 Ayre Rd. under the unsightly premises and objectionable situations bylaw, a move that forced the demolition of a building.

RELATED: Ayre Road demolition

The lone dissenting vote on the Otter Point Road property came from Coun. Megan McMath.

She expressed some sympathy for Woodward and recalled visiting the building when it was still operational as a trading post known locally as the Tin Grotto.

But even McMath admitted the nine years during which the building was vacant was a long time, and Woodward probably should have done more at the site during that time.

Woodward’s response did little to advance his case.

“My heart’s just not in it. It’s a tedious job, and at times I lose interest,” he said.

“But as far as the statement that the building has deteriorated, where’s the proof?”

Tait pointed out the staff report in September outlined all the deficiencies and, although she agreed that Woodward should be granted another 30 days to demolish the property, she was unwilling to re-litigate the cause of the initial order.

Barring any further developments, Woodward will be forced to demolish the building or face having the district contract the demolition.

Should the district be forced to take action, the cost of the demolition would be placed against the property title and recovered through property taxes.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

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