Wednesday 7 December 2011

Derelict Properties Bylaw?

The news that the City of Winnipeg seized an apartment building under their vacant building bylaw stoked up a little idea that was smoldering amongst the moss and twigs in my mind: Perhaps this bylaw could be expanded to include empty lots as well.

I am thinking of a couple in particular. One is on Portage avenue between Edmonton and Kennedy St. It used to be a small park with giant jelly beans that you can sit on, and apparently had a name other than "Jelly Bean Park" which is what I called it, but I don't recall what that name was. It was purchased by a fellow named Ray Rybachuk, fellow developer Russ Knight and his lawyer friend Ken Carroll who came forward with a plan to build a 12-story office and parkade there. That plan was probably a ruse from the beginning, as nothing ever happened there and it doesn't appear as though anything ever will. Instead, the park was turned into a make-shift gravel parking lot that violates every rule the city has about surface parking lots, which are an eye sore at the best of times. (See the bottom of this post for more dirt on Raymond J Rybachuk.)

If only the city had some sort of way to reclaim emply lots by law that are being willfully misused by derelict owners. We could call it a "bylaw" or something. Yeah, a "derelict property bylaw". That sounds catchy!

Honesty though, the city should have the ability to reclaim this land, as the owner is clearly not going to develop it as intended and is blatantly flouting city rules. It is also an ugly "missing tooth" on a high visibity street, and thus has greater negative impact than just any old vacant lot. Perhaps if the rules had more teeth, like the ability of the city to secure this property, then owners like Rybachuk might be more inclined to get their act together.

Another property that I fear may befall the same fate is the old Fat Angel lot on Main Street. Yes, I know what I said:

There are certain buildings that are just so ugly -- so disfiguring to the urban streetscape -- that they must be destroyed, even if it means replacing them with a gravel parking lot.
but to be fair, one of my staffers wrote that piece because I was busy smoking pot and counting ceiling tiles. I am slightly worried though: cars are starting to appear on the site of the old Fat Angel on Main -- another high visibility area -- although they may only be on what used to be the paved area behind the old building. However this may creep into becoming a full blown contraband gravel parking lot as well.

We need a carrot and stick policy. There should be incentives or encouragement for developing crucial areas like this, possibly including access to Tax Increment Financing. The city also needs to get out of the way of progress. There are numerous stories of costly red tape, most recently Basil's fight for a simple liquor license to reopen an establishment in Osborne Village. But there also needs to be a stick to move things along and prevent abuse.

Ray Rybachuk does not have a good track record. For example, after scrapping his plan to develop the building adjacent to Jelly Bean Park, he put up a large lighted sign on the historic Boyd Building without permission, and only asked for permission after the fact when people started to complain. The city ordered him to take it down, or they would do it for him and charge him for it ... which did not happen. The sign remains, although he did grudgingly turn it off.

The name "Ray Rybachuk" comes up in another unseemly story as well, about stealing proprty. And then there's this: one guy on a website called writes:
Keep in mind Raymond Rybachuk is a convicted cocaine dealer, so how much credibility should you extend to someone with that kind of history?

And more importantly, why is a lawyer Ken Carroll or a real estate professional Russ Knight associated with a known cocaine dealer? Or are they anymore, considering Raymond Rybachuk was evicted from his office on the 8th floor of the Boyd Medical Centre, and is now continuing his slumlord business from Lead Management on Notre Dame St in Winnipeg.

If you are a business professional, be very wary of dealing with anyone associated with Raymond J Rybachuk, including Lead Management, Ken Carroll, Russ Knight, Boyd Medical Centre or any investments offered using the phone numbers 204-951-6750 or 204-989-0635 these are the main numbers used by Raymond J Rybachuk in perpertrating his investment scams, including
his most recent attempt at selling property in Belize that he doesn't even own.
Probably the same guy goes on another rant about "big fat guy Raymond Rybachuk" on a web site called

More bizaarly, the website advertises oceanfront property while accusing Rybachuk of being a scam artist and "convicted cocaine dealer". I don't know if this web site was hacked or what, but it is very strange.

Only $50k for a convicted cocaine dealer? And I can finance? I'd be crazy not to buy!

I didn't link to these web sites on purpose because they are kind of icky, but you can find them easily enough. Sombody certainly has it in for this guy though.

** Update **
Thanks to a certain person with access to the Free Press archives, I can confirm that Rybachuk was in fact arrested in relation to a drug smuggling operation.


Anonymous said...

There certainly is more than one person willing to publicly claim Mr. Rybachuk as a creep. His record seems to speak for itself. What a POS.
Good article!

Christian Cassidy said...
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Christian Cassidy said...
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Shaun M Wheeler said...

But... but... but Cheren, without the shortcut afforded me by that gap in the streetscape, I'd be forced to walk all the way around the block to get from my bus stop on Portage to Graham ave!

Meh, I need the exercise anyway...

Anonymous said...

Good post !

It's really something that the parking situation has gone on this long. Our building just went through a parking lot issue and were told that the city could issue a removal notice giving us 60 - 90 days (max) to vacate if the zoning issue wasn't fixed. We should have told them that we're going to pull a Rybachuk and stuff their 'illegal parking lot' notice.
I wonder if the city would have backed down for us ?!

I notice that he lost his appeal and was ordered to remove the sign in FEBRUARY 2011 - 10 months ago ! - and there it still is.

For interest here is the file on the sign. Scroll down and you'll see his handwritten note and request for appeal (I guess he was trying to save on lawyer's fees) in which he blames everyone (the city, sign contractor etc) for the sign !

Toss his name into the Queen's Bench court registry and he's demonstrated a robust participation in the province's justice system.

cherenkov said...

Anon1: yes, seems to be the case.

SMW:Dang, I totally forgot to take into account the societal benefit of these empty lots.

Anon2: that handwritten appeal is hillarious.

RM said...

I want to thank Ray for being the most searched key word of any of my posts.
Good post. Careful with those lawyers... Realtors you can slam publicly, like the last time I saw Russ on the street and called him a *$&%^# *!$%@^&#@ *^#&%^@%#$.ho

Shaun M Wheeler said...

I hear that... the top keywords bringing people to my blog are Jennifer, Aniston, and Naked.

Anonymous said...
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RM said...

Any chance you could send me those photos?

The Traveler said...

Only in Winnipeg do BS developers get the royal treatment. Must have a freindship with Sam the parking lot guru. And part time Mayor

Anonymous said...

go through the court of queen's bench online records and type in Ray's name.....he has other history a mile long. He is as twisted and deceitful as they come. Unfortunately his partners in the building are no better.

cherenkov said...

Is there anything concrete about his partners, other than bad judgement in dealing with Ray?

Anonymous said...

One of them has declared bankruptcy at least three times, and has had several small claims suits filed against him, those I know for sure. Having met and dealt with them, and knowing someone who worked for them, I have been given the impression that they are all just as crooked in various ways.

Abuser said...

Police love this guy! he grows weeds and has them busted while the real deals go down! yes right in your backyard tsk tsk tsk... he got his contact yrs ago it was passed on to him long ago, Its not lousy Police work. It's Police on the take! Wake Up!

Anonymous said...

Are you guys bored - losers ...get a grip keep on looking at your child porno..while this guy rakes in all will be talking child porn the rest of your lives..losers

Anonymous said...

Could Winnipeg have a nude news channel..?

Anonymous said...

the city and police haven;t even touched on RAY RYBACHUK's doings. his accountants all live in alberta, he fires them all the time,he owns the old club house with hidden room. his wife is on welfare claims rent at his bldg. ,lives in highrise across from him. she is secretary. his DR's go door to door in his slums collecting medical numbers to over bill welfare, advertises up north for tenants on welfare , tenancy know him well and let him keep all damage deposits. all who work for him are on welfare and get slave wages.owner of caspian is his ex-father-in-law.police know what he does and don't do nothing. he kicks mom's/children out on the spot if they don't cooperate, i no this so why doesn't mayor/police know? what's going on here? he steals property away from OLD people, uses HIS lawyer to SAVE the OLD money on and on. WAKE_UP WPG>properties are listed under common-law/baby name and/or miss spells his name to TRICK POLICE and MAYOR/COUNCIL.gang involvement you bet, wrong gang. zigzag in stony is ex to ray's common-law.they need to talk to her she makes the money drops. LEAD MANAGEMENT needs to be shut down. he now can steal from there files and destroy people. WAKE_UP CITY. his history is proof, to not have him around identity's.

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