Travelling down Colwyn Street there’s one house that stands out among the others.
The home at 501 Colwyn is abandoned and unkempt, which has raised the ire of some concerned neighbours.
Dennis Brunt said there have been complaints from nearby residents for years but no one knew how to resolve the situation.
So he went to city hall.
His first e-mail was to City Clerk Peter Wipper on June 8, 2011. Brunt noted in his e-mail that he and his wife “walk by (the house) almost every day and it is a disgrace.”
Along with long grass, weeds, overgrown trees and a mossy roof, there were several old vehicles parked in the yard.
Wipper said since that time the city has been on the property and the derelict vehicles were removed, except for a red, orange, and yellow striped commercial-style bus with the destination head reading ? Mystery Trip ?, which is parked in the back of the house.
Brunt said the city needs to do more.
“I have contacted the city numerous times and they say they can do nothing about it,” Brunt said. “A house like this lowers property values on a street. It is abandoned and is extremely messy and unsightly. Who would want that kind of place in their neighbourhood?”
The city says it has limited powers when it comes to dealing with abandoned houses.
Wipper said the city can use its remediation tool which gives a property owner 30 days from the time of notice to clean up its property, whether it be cutting the grass, taking down an old dilapidated shed, removing garbage from the property, or cutting overgrown hedges. If the property owner does not comply, the city will go in and do the work at the owner’s expense.
Wipper said in the case of the Colwyn house, the owner has been served notice to tidy up his property.
“The owner has been given 30 days, I believe that’ll expire in a week and a half so they have some more time to tidy up the grounds,” Wipper said. “I know we have one resident that feels it should be demolished but no, we wouldn’t be demolishing the house at this point so long as it’s secure. But we would want the property tidied up so it meets our bylaw standards.”
Wipper said the city understands that the house is indeed vacant but because it’s boarded up, it’s deemed safe and secure by the city.
Brunt can’t believe the city’s response.
“I find it kind of amazing that the city can deem that house acceptable,” Brunt said. “It looks like the roof’s going to cave in.”
And after doing some research, Brunt said it appears the owner of the property is out of compliance with the city bylaw, which he said the city is not enforcing.
He noted that the city bylaw regarding unsightly properties, section 5.16, states that “every owner of real property shall maintain the general appearance and repair of the real property to the standards of other similar properties in the neighbourhood.”
Brunt said the home is anything but up to the standards of other homes on the street.