Likening the drawn-out proceedings to a dog chasing its tail, both sides in the Sutherland Press building saga appeared Monday before Justice Desotti at the Elgin County Courthouse.
Toronto owner David McGee – in a replay of court proceedings in 2008 – is attempting to sidetrack the city’s second attempt to demolish the four-storey Talbot St. structure that dates back to 1913.
The city has already tendered a demolition contract with Schouten Excavating, who submitted the lowest bid in the amount of $101,135 and McGee is seeking a court injunction to halt any attempts to dismantle the edifice.
But before both sides present their cases – scheduled for the middle of May – the city sought Monday to have the court approve its application for security of costs from McGee, arguing he may not have sufficient assets to cover costs should the city get the green light to proceed with demolition.
Desotti agreed the liabilities exceed the value of the property, noting the city “has gone through this before with extraordinary expenses.”
Referring to the city’s unsuccessful attempt to demolish the building in 2008, Desotti observed “we’re back at the same issues with no positive activity. We’re kind of chasing our tail . . . with a lot of nothing.”
In her defence of McGee, lawyer Valerie M’Garry said “We have tried to accommodate the city. The building is not in danger of collapse. Eight years later and it’s still standing.”
That last remark prompted Desotti to remark, “It’s a propped-up building that’s still propped up. Isn’t that an uneasy feeling? Is it to be propped up forever?”
To which M’Garry argued, “The exterior is fine, it’s not going anywhere. It’s not in danger.”
The city’s legal counsel, John Sanders, had sought $17,477 in security for costs and noted, “the matter has some urgency. And we don’t underestimate his (McGee) ability to drag things out.”
Desotti agreed to the city’s request for security of costs but cited the proposed amount as excessive and pegged the figure at $11,754, to be paid by April 30.
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