SAINT JOHN – The north end of Saint John has momentum following another successful phase of a community build project.
Over the weekend, the Saint John Tool Library, O.N.E Change and more than 40 volunteers put in over 160 hours of work to gut 96 Victoria Street in order to determine if it’s a viable candidate for renovation.
O.N.E. Change owns the property following a transfer from the Saint John Land Bank.
Brent Harris of the Tool Library says they spent the weekend clearing out about 80 per cent of what was inside, enough to fill three dumpsters. He says the community response was positive.
“It was a great, very favourable. People were really shocked to see us there doing that. A lot of people couldn’t believe we were doing this in their own backyard. A lot of people said it was the perfect fit, this is a place that really deserved it,” Harris said.
The work on the Victoria Street property is part of a larger community effort to revitalize the North End of Saint John.
Harris says the Tool Library doesn’t have a lot of resources to make some of the dreams they have surrounding housing and revitalization become reality.
“So whenever we can throw a lot of our supporters and the community at a project that is going to attempt to address housing in a creative way, we do. The hope all along is to move us away from a subsidized housing requirement for people who might be on a more pinched income,” Harris said.
Harris says the next step will be having City of Saint John’s engineers come in to have a look and see what needs to be fixed before it can be renovated.
“The City can get and do a proper site inspection and see what can or can’t be done and what really needs to be changed about the building before it could be renovated,” Harris said.
The property hasn’t had human inhabitants for at least five years and is one of the former PMV Canada properties the company owned in the north end of Saint John.
Tamara Steele is a reporter with Country 94, an Acadia Broadcasting radio station. Acadia is a Huddle content partner.