TIMMINS -- South Porcupine's historic Central Tavern is the first of a string of demolitions in Timmins this week, a move by the city to deal with derelict buildings.

The former tavern is the first of three buildings being torn down by reality TV demolition crew 'Salvage Kings,' which the city has contracted to do the work. The tavern stood as a local landmark for around 120 years before falling into disrepair.

When combined with the planned demolition of the old Tisdale public works shop, city councillor John Curley said "in one week, you've lost hundreds of years of history."

"It's a shame to see it come to this, but if there's no one stepping up to the plate to take over refurbishing ... it's too late to save," Curley said.

The tavern in particular was a source of treasured memories in the community. Onlookers reminisced about its role as a social hub for an evening drink and for a number of community events.

"My husband and I and bunch of others used to come and do karaoke here," said Wendy Sangiuliano. "It's sad to see it come down after all these years."

"I had the pleasure of enjoying the hospitality here over the many years with the Saari family, when they owned it," said Andrew Warren.

But as of 2019, the tavern joined the ranks of derelict buildings in the city that councillors have been looking to crack down on.

Councillor Joe Campbell said this is a good step, especially since one residential building slated for demolition is in Schumacher, within his ward.

'We have to use tough love'

However, Campbell said there are still handfuls of properties in severe disrepair that he said is largely due to poor attention paid by their owners.

"If they're not looking (after them) and we have to send our people over to maintain their properties, then they should be charged for this," Campbell said. "So in some cases, we have to use tough love."

Though Campbell said some property owners need a heavy hand, there is room to offer encouragement for owners to bring their buildings up to code.

For derelict buildings still standing, and those falling into disrepair, he said the city could look at incentives for refurbishing them.

Then there's the matter of dealing with demolished and remediated land.

"Hopefully with an incentive program, maybe someone could build in some of these areas or attach them to other properties," Campbell said.