BIA chair files complaint about derelict Mount Forest building

KENILWORTH – The chair of the Mount Forest Business Improvement Association (BIA) has taken the association’s grievances about the old tea room building, at 178 Main Street, to the township.

Chair Andrew Coburn wrote to the township with a property standards complaint about the “very poor aesthetic” of the building, which sits east of the TD Bank downtown.

Coburn’s letter states demolition of the building has been ongoing for the past three years, and describes it as a “liability.”

“We are filing the complaint in hopes that proper steps are taken with landowners to rectify its current state,” Coburn wrote in part.

According to property records, Caledon-based A&M Investments owns the building.

The facade of 178 Main Street in Mount Forest, looking west, downtown. Photo by Jordan Snobelen


Reached by phone on Sept. 1, owner Dan Propero told the Advertiser his company has plans to demolish the building but can’t because the front is connected directly to an adjacent building.

“You can’t just take that down because the neighbouring building will be wide open,” he remarked.

“So that can’t come down until everything else comes together with permits and whatnot with the township.”

Propero said the company is dealing with engineers and trying to get permits from the township to proceed with work.

“We’re in the process of gathering up all the information they need for permits,” he said.

Propero was unable to speak to a timeline for when work would be completed, saying “everything will get done when it gets done, you can’t push people.”

“I mean we’ve been waiting for certain parts of the drawings for the mechanicals and whatnot for months and months and months,” he said, adding “people have to be patient.”

Propero wanted to demolish and rebuild the structure, but he’s uncertain what the future holds for the property.

“I’m still sort of moving forward, but … we have to do budgets and see if it’s even worth doing at this point,” he said, adding the process to transform the location began five years ago.

Crumbling walls, graffiti and debris are seen at the rear of 178 Main Street in Mount Forest. Photo by Jordan Snobelen


Councillor Sherry Burke brought the complaint letter before council at an Aug. 28 meeting, saying residents have been complaining about the state of the property.

“Everybody understands that the property is to be developed, but they also believe that it can also be cleaned up,” Burke said.

“The weeds, the other day when I walked past, are at least four feet high in some areas, so I think that this needs to be dealt with.”

Mayor Andy Lennox recalled there were structural issues with an adjacent building when demolition began. He suggested staff return with a report on what’s going on.

Clerk Karren Wallace told council a report will be brought back at a Sept. 11 meeting.

CAO Brooke Lambert confirmed in an email chief building official Darren Jones followed up with the BIA when the letter was received, on Aug. 18.

Lambert stated Jones submitted additional information “that elaborated on the condition of the grounds” to Guelph’s bylaw department, which Wellington North contracts for property standards bylaw enforcement.

“I can confirm that the bylaw complaint review is already in progress, and hopefully we will have some further information on next steps once the process is completed,” Lambert wrote.

The City of Guelph did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

– With files from Nicole Beswitherick