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West Hants maintaining 'status quo' when it comes to unsightly former Ellershouse garage

Steve Brown has been asking council to intervene and have the former Davison's Ultramar property in Ellershouse cleaned up since July 2017. He says it's not only unsightly, but dangerous to live next to.
Steve Brown has been asking council to intervene and have the former Davison's Ultramar property in Ellershouse cleaned up since July 2017. He says it's not only unsightly, but dangerous to live next to. - Carole Morris-Underhill

ELLERSHOUSE, N.S. — West Hants councillors were advised this week that there's been no progress made on the possible clean up at an old garage.

And that news isn’t sitting well with a local Ellershouse resident.

Steve Brown lives next door to the former gas station, known as Davison's Ultramar, which is in the 6100 block of Highway 1 near Dawson Road.

Brown has been lobbying to have the structure torn down for quite some time as he feels it has become a safety hazard.

“Structurally, it may not be ready to collapse but I don’t think that it would take much of an impact to make that happen,” said Brown.

“I am concerned about debris that flies off of the roof of the building in wind storms,” he said, noting they frequently find small pieces of asphalt shingles.

“I know that there are large metal plates on the roof of the canopy and every time the wind blows we hear it. That’s going to fly off and hit one of my vehicles, or my wood tent, or one of my children, or me — and that’s completely unacceptable,” Brown said.


RELATED: Ellershouse man lobbying council to clean up unsightly former gas station property


Interim chief administrative officer Martin Laycock told councillors that he only had a minor update to provide on Jan. 23.

He said staff contacted Nova Scotia Environment to figure out where the municipality is with regards to issuing a ministerial order but they haven't heard back.

Additionally, the municipality's bylaw enforcement officer and building inspector visited the site and Laycock said they “noted no changes in the structure,” meaning it could still stand.

“It's really status quo until we can follow up with Nova Scotia Environment to figure out where we are with the ministerial order,” Laycock said.

Brown says having to wait months upon months to see the site cleaned up is unacceptable.

“I am disappointed that it’s taking so long to make what… seems like a very obvious decision — that that building needs to be removed,” said Brown.

The Ellershouse resident, who has three young children, says he’ll welcome the environment minister or any councillor to come visit his house to get a taste of what living next door to an ‘unsightly’ property is like.

“I would invite them to come and stay at my house for a little while. Come live next to that garage for a little bit,” said Brown.

“Nobody else would want to deal with this,” he continued. “My property value has declined again this year. Maybe that has something to do with the local market, maybe it has something to do with the derelict building bordering my property.”

Brown said he’d like to see someone take leadership and finally tackle the situation.

“Every single taxpayer in the municipality would want that torn down if it was next to them so why won’t they tear it down for me?”

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