Time for derelict Turner building to go, neighbours say

It’s sad to think of losing the landmark Turner building, with its rounded nose, but the derelict structure really should go, neighbouring businesses say.

Vikram Bawa, owner of Fort Royal Pharmacy, said in recent years the only activity he has seen in the Turner are squatters who break in after dark.

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“It would be good for a business to go in,” said Bawa, whose store is at the corner of Richmond Road and Fort Street. “Nobody is taking care of it now.”

On Thursday, members of council were scheduled to debate a staff report recommending that the building, once home to Ian’s Jubilee Coffee Shop, be demolished within 14 days, not the usual 30 days, because of safety concerns.

The recommendation came after a health and safety inspection ordered when a 3.7-metre section of wall fell off the second storey of the building at 2002 Richmond Rd., just north of Fort Street near the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

“The inspection revealed that the building has extensive water damage to the interior structure, contains black mould, and due to the age of the building, asbestos is also assumed to be present,” the staff report says.

A shortened demolition notice is necessary “due to the likelihood of further building collapse as a result of both the condition of the building and the impending winter weather and the significant risk to the public safety if action is not taken.”

The 1940s-era building housed Ian’s Jubilee Coffee Shop, run by Ian Turner. Turner, the building’s owner, retired in 2001 and the building subsequently closed.

Natasha Vandenberg, owner of After Shave barber shop, can look directly at the Turner building from her window.

Vandenberg said she would like to see the site developed.

“Something needs to be done because it’s in disarray,” she said.

About half of her clients were thrilled when the tape went up and rumours started that it was to be demolished. The other half want to see it restored and renovated.

Janna Malo, owner of Fired Up, a ceramic store on the corner of Richmond and Fort, said she and her partner thought about trying to buy the Turner.

But Malo said they decided it likely couldn’t be repaired economically.

“It’s a very derelict building and kind of an eyesore,” Malo said. “I would be really happy with something new and updated.”

Bill Kennes, manager of the nearby Jubilee Pharmacy, was served many meals by Turner and said people are attached to the building.

“It’s a bit of a landmark,” Kennes said.

“A lot of people identify with that sort of Winnipeg-looking rounded front nose look.”

rwatts@timescolonist.com

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