Why are the properties at the corner of Wayne Gretzky Parkway and Henry Street in Brantford, Ontario being developed…
when the derelict and abandoned city owned properties on Greenwich and Mohawk Streets (or, if you prefer that sanitized version: Greenwich Mohawk Brownfield) have sat festering for years…
If your city or municipality puts a priority on the responsible use of taxpayers’ dollars, there are many city management lessons that can be learned from Brantford’s handling of derelict, abandoned and inefficiently used properties.
1) If current and/or former owners of these properties contaminated the soil, is it not their moral and legal responsibility to clean up the contaminated soil? What an excellent opportunity they have to set an example as responsible corporate citizens.
2) To avoid a repeat of history, strict bylaws dealing with property damage should be standard practice.
3) If a city owns derelict, abandoned and inefficiently used properties, does it make sense to determine which property has the highest opportunity cost and deal with that first? The costs of maintenance, security, city staff, lawyers, consultants (all subsidized by taxpayers) are a drain on taxpayers. How long can taxpayers afford to subsidize these costs?
4) A city is not in the property development business. The only exception to this is the maintenance and improvement of infrastructure.
5) If a city is not going to use these properties for infrastructure, is it in the best interest of taxpayers for these properties to be rezoned intelligently (consistent with the layout of the city as a whole) and sold without further delay? A property may be a good location for a furniture store, a restaurant, a dental office and a bank.
6) City ownership of these properties should be avoided.
7) If a city does not own such properties, does it make sense for the city to work with the owner to determine the best remedy that suits the layout of the city as a whole?
The blight of derelict, abandoned and inefficiently used properties will be lessened if a city or municipality applies these lessons. Taxpayers’ dollars will be saved.