For the second time in just over a month, the future of the Sutherland Press building has been put on the waiting list due to ill health.
As the City vs. Sutherland Lofts hearing was set to open Monday at the Elgin County Courthouse, the lawyer for building owner David McGee advised Ontario Superior Court Justice Peter Hockin she was unsure if she could continue.
“I’m struggling with my health. I’m struggling,” admitted Valerie M’Garry, who sat slumped in her seat.
On Jan. 3, M’Garry was unable to attend the scheduled hearing due to her health, the details of which were not disclosed.
Hockin suggested she and the city’s legal counsel, John Sanders, leave the courtroom to meet with him for a brief conference.
McGee is challenging an unsafe building order issued Oct. 28 by the city that gave him until Dec. 15 of last year to provide a detailed work plan and schedule repairs to begin early last month on the four-storey structure dating back to 1913.
The work order covers remediation of spalling or damaged bricks and securing the southwest corner of the roof which suffered a partial collapse more than a year ago.
Following a 30-minute deliberation, the trio returned to the courtroom with M’Garry arriving in a wheel chair.
Hockin announced the hearing will be put over until May 24 and in stern fashion stressed the matter will proceed with or without M’Garry.
“Mr. McGee should take that into account,” cautioned Hockin, no stranger to the Sutherland Saga.
In June of 2008, city council unanimously approved awarding a $154,500 tender to St. Pierre Construction to demolish the structure, a boxy tribute to the city’s industrial heritage. But in late July of that year, demolition was halted when Hockin ruled in favour of McGee’s request for leave of appeal, disputing a decision made by Justice David Little 10 days earlier that gave the city the green light to start dismantling the building.
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