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Downtown eyesore gets full facelift

841 Ouellette Ave. is very distinguished.

“I think it looks like a haunted house and I think it'll be great for Halloween,” said Caroline Taylor.

The house is certainly a head turner after receiving a full make over the last few days. 

Ward 3 Coun. Renaldo Agostino bought the paint for the project. He commissioned Dan Bombardier, AKA Denial, who turned it into art.

“I like it better than it was,” Taylor said. “It was a mess before and now it looks like someone is trying and that's what we need here.”

The reason for the paint job?

“It's been something I've been challenged with since I got into office was this building,” Agostino said. “This particular eye sore coming in and out of downtown. This burnt down white house.”

An onlooker feels the solution is simple, “The problem is, fix it. Whoever owns it, fix it. That'll get rid of the blight.”

Agostino says the locally owned house, landlocked between two properties owned by the downtown mission, is not heritage designated. It has no parking and is not required to be torn down.

With no direction or quick solution, he came up with the idea of having it painted. 

“I'm trying to create progress, and in the meantime, we've created this wonderful piece of art,” he said. 

“I think it's a lot better than what it was before,” said Pelissier resident Rene Morel. “It's colourful. It's something to look at. A lot of people taking pictures.”

That's what Agostino wants. More eyes on the building, which, he feels, has a positive effect.

“The more eyes you bring to anything the more safe and secure it is,” said Agostino.  

Back in February, some residents complained of crime spiraling out of control after the Downtown Mission relocated to Ouellette Avenue.

Rukshini Ponniah-Goulin, executive director of the Downtown Mission, thinks the fresh look will be positive for the neighbourhood.

“I don't know if you're going to get a lot of people shooting up or doing any sort of other activities on the premises if there's a lot of people around and a lot of eyes on it,” Ponniah-Goulin said.  

Agostino claims he's already seeing a difference around the house, “I can see it right now. Usually at this time in the morning there's 20 people hanging out in front of here and today's there's nobody.”

He plans to pull the fence away from the house in order to install lights and shed light on an issue that effects far more than just the downtown core. Top Stories

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