Letter to the Editor

I cannot help but glance with sadness each time I walk downtown to see the vacant lot across from Coady Car Care. This lot is ringed with large stones to prohibit vehicles. The unsigned message is “private property-stay out!” In past years on very limited occasions access is granted to the area which is appreciated by our townsfolk but generally speaking it’s an obvious large vacant area which does nothing to enhance the attractiveness of our downtown core. While walking there on occasion I overhear visitors wondering why the area is not in use for either retail or green space.

Great effort has gone into ensuring the beauty and viability of our downtown area as part of a larger economic development strategy. Individual Almonte residents and groups make an effort to beautify our town. It is a shame that this vacant lot continues to be an eyesore. I appreciate this lot is privately owned by an individual(s) or by corporate interests. I also understand it may be quite costly to rehabilitate the area.

That said, surely there is a greater responsibility to our taxpayers in this case. This property should not continue to be vacant for another decade or more while the rest of our downtown develops. It detracts from the value and attractiveness of the surrounding and in some cases historic properties.

Is it not possible for our elected officials to review this property and encourage the owners to do the right thing– rehabilitate and put the property up for sale to the public? A less palatable option might be for the Municipality to expropriate the property at a fair price, rehabilitate it and sell it on the open market or develop it as green space. Either way the taxpayer should be assured any impact on our pocketbook is nil or minimal.

Jim Moore, Almonte