Neigbours want action on unsightly property
‘We don’t have a problem with the cats, we’re just scared for their well-being’
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
“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.”
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.
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.