Mil­ton al­lows haunted house to go ahead af­ter com­plaint

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD - BAMBANG SADEWO INSIDEHALT­ON.COM

There was a bit of a scare that res­i­dents wouldn’t be able to get their spook on at a pop­u­lar haunted house in Mil­ton.

So­cial me­dia was ablaze over con­cerns that the Town might shut down the at­trac­tion af­ter a com­plaint on the graphic na­ture of the dec­o­ra­tions — but Ward 3 Lo­cal and Re­gional Coun­cil­lor Mike Cluett said that that was never in the cards.

How­ever, there was an is­sue with the dec­o­ra­tions be­ing placed on the boule­vard in front of the house.

Mitch Gar­ber, the man be­hind the “haunted” prop­erty on Meighen Way, near Louis St. Lau­rent Av­enue and Fourth Line, said he was told by a mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cer Mon­day af­ter­noon that he was be­ing cited for vi­o­la­tion of the road foul­ing by­law and that all the dec­o­ra­tions had to be re­moved from the boule­vard within 24 hours.

“If it’s not re­moved within 24 hours then they would have a con­trac­tor on standby who would re­move it for us and we would be fined and given the bill of re­moval,” he said he was told. Cluett, who said he is sup­port­ive of the “great com­mu­nity event,” con­firmed that the Town has since given the home­owner an ex­ten­sion un­til Nov. 1 to take down the dec­o­ra­tions, al­low­ing him to wel­come guests and trick-and-treaters.

“I know it’s the Town’s prop­erty, but it’s Hal­loween dec­o­ra­tions. Peo­ple put up Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions. Peo­ple put up lit­tle lawn dec­o­ra­tions up on their boule­vard,” Gar­ber told the Cham­pion, adding that he reg­u­larly wa­ters and cuts the grass and main­tains the tree.

The com­plainant re­port­edly took is­sue with some of the dec­o­ra­tions, such as the bloody man­nequins and the hang­ing skele­tons — the for­mer con­sid­ered to be a form of vi­o­lence against women — and wanted them re­moved from the dis­play.

Gar­ber added he was dis­heart­ened when he heard about the com­plaint.

“The rea­sons we’re do­ing this is for the chil­dren, the Town, and the Kid­ney Foun­da­tion (of Canada). It’s for a good cause,” he said. “I’m against any sort of bul­ly­ing and abuse against women. My fam­ily made a $500 do­na­tion this year to Hal­ton Women’s Place — the shel­ter for abused women. It’s Hal­loween. It’s not like I do this on an av­er­age Tues­day, It’s done on the month of Oc­to­ber, we raise money and on Nov. 1 we take ev­ery­thing down.”

Ward 3 Coun. Rick Di Lorenzo said he has re­ceived sim­i­lar com­plaints from “up­set” res­i­dents over the man­nequins in the last cou­ple of years, this year in­cluded. Ac­knowl­edg­ing that it’s not within his right to ask the home­owner to re­move the man­nequins, he be­lieves re­mov­ing them “wouldn’t take away from how fan­tas­tic the house is.”

“It doesn’t stop me from still be­ing sup­port­ive of the fundraiser. I go there ev­ery year. I make a do­na­tion ev­ery year and I am very much in sup­port of what he’s do­ing for the Kid­ney Foun­da­tion,” Di Lorenzo said.

“I just wish they could come up with a com­pro­mise.”

The coun­cil­lor said he hopes the con­tro­versy doesn’t take away from the great work that Gar­ber is try­ing to do and the hours and ef­fort that his fam­ily puts in ev­ery year.

With the po­ten­tial “road­block” over, Gar­ber thanked the com­mu­nity for ral­ly­ing be­hind the char­ity haunted house.

“I’m amazed by the amount of sup­port that we’ve had over the past 24 hours. Peo­ple have been call­ing, email­ing, tex­ting, mes­sag­ing, and post­ing on Face­book shar­ing our posts,” he said.

Since open­ing the doors to the haunted house back in 2013, they have raised about $40,000. This Hal­loween, he hopes to hit $50,000. “That’s the goal. We want to get an­other $10,000 this year,” he said.

Vis­i­tors are wel­come to visit the haunted house at 1086 Meighen Way on Thurs­day from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. There will be a do­na­tion box in the front of the house or you can do­nate on­line. Among the spook­tac­u­lar at­trac­tion, there are creepy an­i­ma­tron­ics, a walk-through maze, haunted garage, fright­en­ing sound ef­fects, and live ac­tors who will jump out for a scare at cer­tain times.

BAMBANG SADEWO TORSTAR

This haunted house at 1086 Meighen Way in Mil­ton hopes to scare up dona­tions for the Kid­ney Foun­da­tion of Canada.

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