Tuesday, February 23, 2010

York Hotel Transition Process

While I was away the news that the city is purchasing the dilapidated York Hotel became public.

I strongly believe that this is the right move for the future of not just down town but, the community as a whole really. It's been an eyesore for a long time and it's really impacted people's sense of how safe our community it.

We've been working on the purchase for a long time behind the scenes and I'm happy that it's now out in the public domain so we can finally discuss it with the community.

Of course the process isn't going to be without it's surprises as we actually take on ownership of the building. But I think, working together, we can build a solution that improves the safety of our community, reinvigorates downtown and helps some people who were being taken advantage of.

Hmmmm, I just re-read that last sentence and I suppose it might be unclear who I mean when I say "working together". Of course I mean the city (Council and staff) but I also mean community agencies who are involved in housing, addictions and social services. Those two are probably obvious and you might have guess them.

In addition to those two groups, I also mean the downtown business community (they've got a lot invested in the success of the area and have been on the front lines of the issues created by the building over the past number of years) AND .... you. Now that we can influence what happens with this property it's time that we had a community-wide discussion about where we go next and how we get there and you, the general public should have a say.

I'm looking for your feedback - get involved, tell me what you'd like to see happen with the York.

Do you have ideas for the property?
Concerns about the residents or businesses?

This is just the start of a process, let's talk...

Media Release
February 23, 2010

York Hotel Acquisition Process Progresses

The City of Grande Prairie is taking steps to assume possession of the York Hotel on March 4 should there be no challenge during the appeal process.

A preliminary assessment of the building, to the best of our ability, was carried out and has identified safety concerns that may need to be addressed immediately to ensure the safety of the tenants.

Efforts are underway to assist residents and lessees with the transition once the City is able to take ownership of the premises. There are approximately 24 tenants in the hotel along with the Safari Restaurant and the Lucky Convenience Store.

The City’s plan for assisting residents includes providing Community Housing workers to assist in the transition. The City will also help with locating tenants to a new home, payment of first month’s rent and security deposit, assistance with moving and short-term storage of belongings, as necessary, and help with accessing additional resources, if needed.

“We are committed to ensuring the people living at the York Hotel find suitable accommodations so they can effectively transition into the community and move forward with their lives,” says Deputy Mayor Gladys Blackmore.

A Court of Queen’s Bench judge ruled on Feb. 3 that the City of Grande Prairie’s bid of $1.1 million was successful in a foreclosure hearing.

The York Hotel, located at 10012-101 Street was built in 1948.

“By purchasing this property, Council has positioned the City to guide development in that section of Grande Prairie in the long-term interest of the community,” Blackmore says.
Media enquires may be directed to:
Deputy Mayor Gladys Blackmore
780-518-1097 (Cell)


Brady said...

Have there been any talks as far as preparing for where the other "business people" who occupy the bar, the streets, and the alley will end up?

Bill Given said...

Thanks for the Question Brady.

Yes, the RCMP and our Crime Prevention department have been talking about this.

We will be having a meeting on March 4th (the day we get possession of the property) and I've asked staff to present a transition plan, or at least a rough outline so council can discuss it in public.

I'll ask them to include some info on this point.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill, I was just wondering that if the york hotel is turned into affordal housing would there be any transit development?

Bruce said...

I personally don't like this deal at all. You say that council has been working on this deal for awhile, but can now make it public. Should it not have been public right from the start, seeing as how it's public money that is being spent? It shouldn't have been private due to trying to keep out competitors from the auction, because the city says it only knew of the auction 1 week before.

I also don't feel that the city should be involved in making real estate purchases. Perhaps the downtown business community should have been the ones doing this deal, not the city. Also, with the mayor being so ingrained in this decision, it should have been avoided altogether. I know its been said that Logan has removed himself from this, but to me its too much of a conflict of interest.

Hopefully the meeting on March 4th goes well, because it seems like many people just expect that when the place closes the crackhounds that hang out there will just disappear.

Call me a pessimist, but I just can't see many positive points in this deal. But you wanted feedback, so there is mine.


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