Neig­bours want ac­tion on un­sightly prop­erty

‘We don’t have a prob­lem with the cats, we’re just scared for their well-be­ing’

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY JEREMY FRASER

Res­i­dents of a neigh­bour­hood in West­mount want the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity to take ac­tion on what they call an “un­sightly prop­erty” in their area.

The neigh­bour­hood is con­cerned with a prop­erty at the cor­ner of Ful­ton Av­enue and Mel­rose Drive in the com­mu­nity. Res­i­dents say they have wanted some­thing done with the prop­erty for the past five years, but noth­ing has been done.

Rhonda MacIsaac has lived next to the prop­erty for close to nine years. She has lots of con­cerns about it.

“The prop­erty is falling down — there are birds that are fly­ing in and out of the roof and there are cats that climb in and out the side of the house,” said MacIsaac. “We’re just try­ing to en­joy our prop­er­ties and we are cer­tainly be­ing charged enough taxes that we should be able to

that.”

“There’s a barn that lit­er­ally wind could blow down, God for­bid, any chil­dren, you know

how kids can be, you don’t want to see them go in there and get trapped,” she said.

Mem­bers of the neigh­bour­hood have con­tacted the mu­nic­i­pal­ity a num­ber of times about the prop­erty.

“They give her cleanup or­ders and then she mows the lawn and then it’s good enough — then they will give her an ex­ten­sion and another ex­ten­sion, it’s been go­ing on for five years,” said MacIsaac.

MacIsaac isn’t the only per­son com­plain­ing about the prop­erty. Elly Wolodka lives across the street from the prop­erty. She made the ini­tial call to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity five years ago.

“The house is beyond re­pair at this stage,” said Wolo­daka. “Five years ago it could have been re­paired, but not now. It’s not safe, it’s not safe for the neigh­bour­hood be­cause if that catches fire, we are all at risk.”

Wolo­daka and Cathy Langlois, another neigh­bour, have col­lected pe­ti­tion sig­na­tures about the prop­erty and

have pre­sented them to the mayor’s of­fice.

Not only are res­i­dents con­cerned about the prop­erty, they’re also con­cerned about the health of the 20 to 40 stray cats liv­ing in­side and around the home.

“We don’t have a prob­lem with the cats, we’re just scared for their well-be­ing,” said MacIsaac. “The home­owner doesn’t want any­one touch­ing the cats, so ev­ery year we have five or six new kit­tens — we all the feed

the cats, we all feel bad for them, it’s not like we are say­ing get those nasty cats out of the neigh­bour­hood.”

Coun­cilor Steve Gille­spie is work­ing with the res­i­dents to find a so­lu­tion. He said he has re­ceived over 25 emails and phone calls about the prop­erty since be­com­ing the dis­trict’s coun­cilor in Oc­to­ber.

“I un­der­stand there have been long­stand­ing is­sues with the res­i­dent of that home and the neigh­bours,” said Gille­spie.

“I have vis­ited the home and knocked on the door sev­eral times, but the owner did not open the door,” he said. “The yard is in ter­ri­ble shape and as we get into the spring and sum­mer months, it’s go­ing to be even worse.”

Paul Burt, Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity man­ager of build­ing, plan­ning and li­cens­ing laws, con­firmed the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has re­ceived com­plaints about the prop­erty.

“There is quite a his­tory there and nor­mally most time when we get a hold of the home­owner they nor­mally will do the cleanup, but it’s to the min­i­mum stan­dard.”

Burt said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has is­sued the home­owner a 30-day cleanup or­der, a time­frame that has not yet ex­pired.

“There is a process to be fol­lowed, so at the end of the 30 days we will go back and re­visit and if the home­owner hasn’t made an at­tempt to clean up the prop­erty, we will clean it up for them and of course bill the charges back to them on a tax bill,” he said.

De­spite ru­mours of the house not hav­ing ac­tive wa­ter and sewer sys­tems, Burt con­firmed the home does in fact have work­ing sys­tems.

The Cape Bre­ton Post spoke to the home­owner on Tues­day, but she re­fused to com­ment, not­ing she wants to be left alone.

MacIsaac said the res­i­dents don’t want the home­owner to leave the neigh­bour­hood, they just want her to clean up the prop­erty and the home.

“There is no doubt it’s un­sightly, but we be­lieve it’s dan­ger­ous, and re­ally dan­ger­ous for her,” she said. “All she has to do is ask for help and ev­ery­body would be more than happy to help her.”

PHOTO SUB­MIT­TED

Pic­tured is the back yard of a home on Ful­ton Av­enue. Res­i­dents in the area have been try­ing for the past five years to have the prop­erty cleaned up but have had no luck, ac­cord­ing to neigh­bours.

JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Pic­tured is the front of a home on Ful­ton Av­enue is West­mount. Res­i­dents in the neigh­bour­hood be­lieve the home is dan­ger­ous and un­sightly and want ac­tion taken to make sure the prop­erty is cleaned up.

Burt

Gille­spie

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