Com­plaint forces or­ga­niz­ers to weigh fate of haunted house

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - CITY+REGION - MOR­GAN MODJESKI

Or­ga­niz­ers of a well-known haunted house in Saska­toon’s North Park neigh­bour­hood are can­vass­ing peo­ple in the area to de­ter­mine if the ter­ri­fy­ing tra­di­tion should con­tinue next year.

In an Oct. 30 post on the “Scari­est House in Saska­toon” Face­book page, or­ga­niz­ers said they’re ask­ing neigh­bours if “they are for or against the haunted house,” and that the “ma­jor­ity rule” will de­ter­mine its fu­ture.

A thank you post mark­ing the end of the Hal­loween sea­son for the house, lo­cated off War­man Road, in­di­cated more than 8,600 peo­ple stopped by to get their spooks this year.

“We don’t want to piss off our neigh­bours,” said one of the or­ga­niz­ers, Lyn­d­sey Fer­nets, who owns the house with her boyfriend, Adam Krutko. “We do this for the good of the com­mu­nity. We’re try­ing to bring Hal­loween back and we’re try­ing to have a safe place where kids and peo­ple can come and en­joy Hal­loween.”

While many neigh­bours em­brace it, bring­ing snacks for vol­un­teers and or­ga­niz­ers through­out the sea­son, not ev­ery­one gets into the spirit. On Oct. 28, some­one filed a noise com­plaint with city po­lice.

“I find it dis­heart­en­ing, ac­tu­ally, to have a cou­ple of neigh­bours ruin it for us,” Fer­nets said, not­ing the event takes a lot of time, ef­fort and money.

If the ma­jor­ity of their neigh­bours are against it, they’ll re­spect their opin­ion and work to fig­ure out a path for­ward for the event, even if it means seek­ing out a new space, she said.

City po­lice said eight noise com­plaints were filed in the area last month — seven of which hap­pened be­tween Oct. 13 and 29 — but could not dis­close where the com­plaints came from, since it was de­ter­mined that no laws were bro­ken.

Neigh­bours ex­pressed mixed feel­ings about the haunted house.

“I think it’s been long enough. I think it’s time to call it quits,” said Keith Starks, who’s lived on the street for nine years. “It has been too busy for a long time. Not just this year, but pre­vi­ous years.”

Starks said when the house is ac­tive, the street be­comes a “high traf­fic” area, re­sult­ing in prob­lems with park­ing and traf­fic flow. Noise, rowdy at­ten­dees and bro­ken glass on his prop­erty have also been prob­lems, he said. He re­called an in­ci­dent about two years ago when a man walked into his home un­in­vited and unan­nounced.

“I felt vi­o­lated,” he said. “I don’t think that would have hap­pened with­out the (haunted) house.”

Sarah Gee, who has lived in the area for two years, called the haunted house a “good at­trac­tion” for the neigh­bour­hood. “I think it’s some­thing fun to do for Hal­loween,” she said. “I love see­ing ev­ery­body out and hav­ing a good time. My drive­way gets blocked some­times, and this is my se­cond year here, so I just learned to deal with it.”

She isn’t both­ered by the noise or in­creased traf­fic, she said. “Hal­loween should be fun . ... There should be a place where peo­ple go and have fun.”

KAYLE NEIS

Adam Krutko, left, and Lyn­d­sey Fer­nets are sur­rounded by props that are used for their pop­u­lar haunted house event. A noise com­plaint was filed with po­lice last month about the Hal­loween tra­di­tion.

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