Muskoka To-DAILY

Bethune Bistro closed due to fire regulations

GRAVENHURST – A downtown restaurant has been ordered closed for violating fire regulations a day after failing to meet a deadline for fire code violations.

Windows on the Bethune Bistro are covered, with signs blaming the town’s fire department for shutting them down.

But a release from the town Tuesday says a Superior Court Judge in Bracebridge ordered the closure “three years after the restaurant was cited by the Gravenhurst Fire Department for fire code violations.”

It goes on to state that: “In 2014, our department received a complaint from a member of the public about fire safety issues at the Bethune Bistro located at 205 Muskoka Road South.  As a result we conducted an inspection which resulted in orders being issued under the Ontario Fire Code. The building was sold at some point thereafter, and the new owner essentially inherited the orders which remained valid after the sale,” said Fire Chief Larry Brassard.

“Further inspections revealed additional issues which resulted in more orders.  Ultimately charges were laid against the owner for failing to comply with those orders.  Fines were levied by the Provincial Offences Court, but many of the outstanding deficiencies remained uncorrected. Repeated attempts were made by the Fire Department to convince the owner of the necessity to comply, and repeated compliance time-line extensions were given over the following months. Ultimately the owner refused to comply with the orders,” said Brassard.

The fire department says in the fall of 2016, they applied to the Superior Court for an order to direct the repairs.

And they say the owner again failed to take the necessary steps to correct the deficiencies.

“The downtown core of Gravenhurst has seen its share of devastating fires in the past and the Fire Department is committed to making sure that it is safe and vibrant,” said Brassard.  “It’s unfortunate, and certainly not the outcome we had hoped for, but when people make a conscious decision not to comply with the laws, there has to be consequences for their actions. We take the safety of our community very seriously, and are committed to working with property owners in a collaborative way wherever possible, but this requires a similar commitment on the part of property owners. In this instance, the court has sent a direct message to all property owners about community safety with the issuance of the order to close,” explained Brassard.

Under the Court Order, which was issued in April, the restaurant had until Monday June 19th the make the necessary repairs to the building.

Under the provisions of the order, the restaurant must remain closed until the owner brings the property into compliance.

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