Future of the Five Corners gas station remains uncertain

The Five Corners gas station and convenience store. Journal Photo

Cathy Dobson

The development of a key property at the intersection of Mitton and Wellington streets has stalled, leaving City Hall to contend with property complaints.

Orders to cut the grass and clear the lot of garbage have been issued 15 to 20 times over the past two years, said Adam MacDonald, Sarnia’s chief building official.

“We’ve been there frequently because of general lot maintenance and people possibly using it for dumping,” he said.

The city most recently responded on April 21 and issued a cleanup order to the property’s owner, Clarington Petroleum Ltd. of Pickering, Ont. If nothing is done, crews will move in this week to clean it up and bill the owner, said MacDonald.

The lot is in the heart of Mitton Village known as Five Corners and once boasted a busy convenience store and gas station. But it closed in 2017, creating a concern for local businesses and residents working to revitalize the area.

The property came under new ownership in 2019 and an application was made to build a new gas pump and canopy. That job was completed, the lot paved, and renovations to the convenience store appeared to be almost done when work halted abruptly last summer.

“For a time, it was exciting to know we’d have a new store there,” says Chrissy McRoberts, owner of the Dog Eat Dog shop across the street. “Having something empty on that corner is brutal. There’s just so much potential.”

The neighbourhood takes pride in keeping Mitton Village clean and customer-friendly, McRoberts added.

“We’ll go clear or trim the shrubs and pick up the garbage, even mow the lawn, if they won’t. Our community has been carrying the load.”

A property management company called Apex on Bloor Street in Toronto has secured the lot on behalf of the mortgagee, according to a sign in the window.

Calls made to Apex were not returned by press time.

Josh Walters, an owner at Maud’s Variety on Mitton Street, said he called Apex to ask what was happening to the property and was told it was up for sale as a gas station.

“It would be nice to have a local owner,” said Walters. “Ultimately it comes down to having a company there that cares.”

McRoberts and Walters are part of the Mitton Village Community Development Advisory Committee, which is working to revitalize the business district.

City Hall has reduced planning and building fees by half for developers that renovate or build in the area, which is roughly bounded by George, Talfourd, Crawford and Mitton streets.