Thursday, July 17, 2008

Green Apple, Going, going, soon to be gone!

The towel has been thrown in, when it comes to the final outcome of one of Prince Rupert's long time restaurants.

The Green Apple which has been listed as temporarily closed for more than six months now, will be permanently closed and most likely torn down shortly, after owner Gordon Lam finally decided that the process of keeping his McBride Street location open wasn't feasible anymore.

Lam has decided to sell his property to the City of Prince Rupert, bringing to an end twenty years of back and forth between the restaurant owner and his city government over the state of the roadbed around his restaurant and the condition of the foundation and pilings of his property.

The fate of the Green Apple appeared to be sealed last year when the city issued a demolition order for the property, that after structural engineers determined that the building was a danger to public safety. Despite a short extension of the demolition process, negotiations between Lam and the city did not seem to come to a successful conclusion for the property owner.

While Lam had a good number of the local population on his side, he and the city could not come to an agreement on needed repairs for the property to bring it up to the city's standards. Lam apparently decided that the struggle to keep his business operating wasn't worth the trouble anymore and has agreed to sell off his property, a project that the city first began to work on back in 2003.

No timeline for the buildings' demolition has been discussed, nor were the terms of sale released at this time. Perhaps the most likely outcome for that portion of the property frontage on McBride will be used to ease some of the traffic problems at that corner, which are particularly troublesome when trucks are trying to negotiate a right hand turn onto Third Avenue East.

As for Lam, he currently is working in the kitchen at Dolly's Fish market and has no plans to resuscitate his long time brand name in the city, bringing to an end a long time connection between his family and the city.

We have a number of stories on the issue in our Podunkian archives:

March 2008-- Council serves up a plate of fish n chips
January 2008-- Green Apple gains 45 days to find a fix for its structural challenges
January 2008-- Fish and chips, to go?

The Daily News adds to the file with details on the property dispute and its ending in Thursday's paper.

Downtown core to lose Green Apple says owner
Gordon Lam says he has given up on dream of reopening
The Daily News
Thursday, July 17, 2008

Page five

After over 20 years of struggling with the city about the maintenance of his restaurant, owner Gordon Lam has made the "difficult decision" to sell the Green Apple to the city of Prince Rupert.

"It's not a really an easy decision for me," said Lam. "But the cost to repair the building was just too much for me."

In January, the famed fish and chips restaurant was condemned after structural engineers determined that the building was a danger to public safety.

Despite vocal support from members of the community, Lam was given 30 days to demolish the structure. The decision to demolish it was reversed and Lam placed a series of ads in the newspaper, announcing the Green Apple's imminent re-opening.
But it looks like that day will never come.

"I've decided to let the city have it because the way it's gone with them from beginning to end has been just ups and downs," said Lam.

Lam's issue with the city dates back as early as 1988, when he first requested in writing that the city make repairs to the retaining wall at the side of his building, which he said was damaging the support structures beneath his building. Despite numerous requests from Lam to fix the wall, he says no action was taken by city.

In 2003, the city first attempted to purchase the property from Lam, but they couldn't agree on a mutually acceptable price.

At the moment, Lam has no plans to open another restaurant at a new location.

"It don't know yet," said Lam. "Green Apple is looking finished."

Lam has seen Rupert's ups and downs over the years and was looking forward to being a part of Rupert's upcoming boom.

"We've suffered for the last seven years since the mill shut down," said Lam. "But with the port and casino, I was looking forward to business picking up."

For now, Lam is working in the back at Dolly's Fish Market.

"I couldn't get away from the fish," he joked.

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