Village of Alix says condemned house has asbestos

ECA Review/file photo
Written by Stu Salkeld

Problems are piling on top of each other for the Village of Alix as a derelict house has been found to contain asbestos.

Councillors decided to move ahead with demolition of the house regardless, at their Sept. 6 regular meeting.

“Not the best news, but not terrible news,” said Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White, who presented a detailed report to council about the ongoing story of 4904 47 Street, a derelict home the village took ownership of for an unpaid tax bill.

“(The property) was transferred to the village in Feb., 2022 as a result of the tax recovery process,” stated White’s memo. “It went through two public auctions and when a real estate agent was contacted to list it for sale they declined, feeling the property was unsafe for habitation.

“As per council resolution the property was tested for potential remediation and was found to have two exterior walls containing asbestos. Public Health also inspected the building and found it non-compliant with minimum housing and health standards and Alberta housing regulations.”

White stated the fate of 4904 47 Street was coming back to council because the asbestos clean-up would push the total cost of the project past the sale price council previously approved.

“This is being brought back to council because demolition and disposal of the house would exceed the reserve bid amount on record,” stated her memo, clarifying that the stucco exterior of the structure contains the asbestos.

The CAO stated that even if it costs a bit more to clean up the property, there are advantages to biting the bullet and doing it.

“The reserve bid/price for the property is $29,500, but the assessed value of the land is $40,800,” stated White. “The reason for the difference is the home on the property decreases the value of the land.

“If the home was removed, council should set a new price for the property based on the most current market value as is required by the Municipal Government Act (MGA).”

The CAO provided a rough budget estimate for demolishing the house, asbestos included, noting the lot may sell for $40,800, removal of the asbestos may cost $19,296.60 and removing the derelict structure may cost $23,040.24, therefore resulting in a shortfall of $1,536.84.

The CAO further noted village staff are currently maintaining the property and the parcel itself generates no tax revenue while the municipality owns it.

The CAO’s recommendation was to tack the extra $1,536.84 onto the eventual selling price once the empty lot goes back on the market.

During discussion, councillors seemed keen to clean up the lot, sell it and move on.

Coun. Barb Gilliat stated she felt the extra $1,500 wouldn’t deter potential buyers, adding if the lot remains derelict it may remain that way for a long time.

“It’s never going to sell,” said Gilliat. The CAO added, “…Not as it is.”

White added the structure has been boarded up but it appears certain wildlife have been using it for shelter. She added that if councillors approved increasing the asking price of the lot she felt the clean-up could be completed this year and the lot be placed back on the real estate market next spring.

Councillors agreed the lot in question is large and in a decent location so it may be an attractive spot for builders.

Councillors unanimously passed a resolution to increase the reserve bid/price of 4904 47 Street to $43,000 and for village staff to proceed with demolition.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.