Legal limbo is being blamed for the lack of rebuilding on the scene of a devastating east Ottawa fire one year ago.

The five-alarm fire on March 16, 2011 burned down several buildings on Beechwood Avenue near some of Ottawa's wealthiest homes.

On March 16, 2012 there haven't even been boards put over the eyesore as the landlord is wrapped up in an insurance dispute.

"It is frustrating to see that after a year we don't seem really further ahead than when the fire first happened," said Chris Green of Bread & Roses Bakery.

"Everything is being held up basically by insurance, and that the landlords are not being very straightforward with everybody," said Hamie of Hamie's Diner.

Business owners said the wealthy landlord is rarely around, not very accessible and fighting with the insurance company over about a $500,000 difference in claims and payouts.

"They've got a lawsuit on them now from Lester's barbershop," said Hamie. "It's just too much for us, we've gone through tremendous stress through the landlord and business and everything."

Locals said shopping in the area is much less convenient than it was before the fire, which harms the businesses that are still there.

"It was very convenient to go shopping, to go to the Metro and carry on all the shopping," said Robert and Nicole Leblanc. "We miss it."

"Now we have to run everywhere and not only that, everyone there knew everyone," said Doris Fedosiewich. "It was almost like a family."

The fire, which started in a hardware store, caused toxic fumes to fill the air as firefighters battled the blaze.

It could be as up to another year before the insurance dispute is resolved and reconstruction can begin.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefan Keyes