The city has taken title of a long neglected building in downtown Trail.
The ramshackle property that once housed the highly regarded CS Williams Clinic on the corner of Cedar Avenue and Helena Street (across from Selkirk College Trail campus) is now owned by the City of Trail.
Ownership wasn’t gained through purchase, rather it follows a four-year legal course of action related to delinquent property taxes.
“The property went through the prescribed tax sale process in 2015,” Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff told the Trail Times. “Meaning taxes were not paid for 2013, 2014 and 2015. The City was declared the “purchaser” at that time.”
The owner then had one year to redeem the property but this did not occur.
“This put the city in the legal position to take title to the property given that four years of property taxes were effectively unpaid,” Perehudoff explained.
Property Tax Sales are prescribed within the Local Government Act and municipalities must follow the process that is outlined in legislation.
When taxes are unpaid for three consecutive years, the city is required to undertake a tax sale process that occurs annually the last Monday of September.
“As noted, once a property goes through the tax sale process they have one additional year to redeem the property,” Perehudoff clarified.
Once the redemption period had passed, the city concluded the legal process to effectively take title.
“Council may choose to extend the redemption period by an additional year by bylaw but decided to proceed to take title given the long history of issues and concerns arising with this building,” he confirmed. “This is now complete and the city owns this building, the previous owner has no claim.”
The city’s cost was $9,200, the amount of unpaid property taxes.
Former CS Williams medical clinic
“Once the owner has determined not to pay property taxes or to redeem, they effectively forfeit all rights,” added Perehudoff.
Taking ownership of the rundown building is another example of Trail council’s commitment to revitalize the downtown core.
“This building has been an ‘eyesore’ for years and clearly there is no opportunity to repurpose it,” he said.
The city will likely demolish the structure and either look to entice a new development or use the property for some other purpose, such as parking or the creation of open space that is consistent with the downtown plan.
“Either way the net result is the removal of a structure that has been a hindrance for years,” Perehudoff noted. “And dealing with this property is very consistent with the revitalization efforts and trying to address the more significant concerns downtown.”