The unlawful demolition of the protected historic building at 184-186 Main Street South in the heart of the Town’s Heritage Conservation District by the developer Bob Forrest was an avoidable tragedy.
The building did not fall down of its own accord.
Bob Forrest ordered the demolition.
The Town hopes to wrap up its investigation into the circumstances in two weeks. And it has ordered all work on the site to stop. It is not clear when this Stop Work notice will be lifted.
After last week’s overnight demolition the public will want to know that the remaining buildings are still safe.
What did Forrest know?
Clearly, the Town must demand an immediate statement from the owner, Bob Forrest. This is no time to dilly dally.
What did Forrest know? What was he told? What did he do? When did he do it and why?
The Town’s Commissioner of Development and Infrastructure, Peter Noehammer, will be leading the investigation but does he have all the resources he needs to get to the truth of what happened?
Bring in the Police
How many people are working on the investigation? Who is being interviewed? Are lawyers present? Has anyone declined to be interviewed? Are the Police being involved? If not, why not?
We need to know about the modalities of the investigation. We are not being told. The Chief Administrative Office, Jag Sharma, stonewalled at Tuesday's Committee of the Whole when asked a few limp questions from Ward 5 councillor, Bob Kwapis.
On Tuesday Sharma said he couldn't give a time-line on the investigation. On Wednesday evening the Mayor told us he hoped to see it concluded in two weeks.
Clearly, Bob Forrest should be prosecuted for his cavalier decision to demolish a protected building in the heart of the Heritage Conservation District. But we need to understand what was in his mind when he ordered the demolition of the building.
Personally, I believe 184-186 Main Street South should be rebuilt at the owner’s expense.
But that is something for another day.
Note: The Minutes of Settlement agreed last year between the Town and Bob Forrest's Main Street Clock Inc had this to say at paragragh 43:
"The parties agree to act reasonably and in good faith in respect of all dealings between the parties pursuant to these Minutes of Settlement."