The City of North Vancouver is ordering the owner of a property it says has been an eyesore for over three decades to clean up his act – or have the city do it for him.
City council voted June 22 to order the owner of the property at 2009 Mahon Road to demolish a fire-damaged house and clean up construction debris and garbage on the property within 45 days. If he doesn’t, city crews will do the work – at an estimated cost of $30,000 to $40,000 – and bill the owner on his taxes.
Council took the unusual step of making the order after endorsing a staff report that that described the condition of the house and surrounding debris as “so dilapidated and unclean as to be offensive to the community.”
The property has a long history of bylaw violations and efforts by the city to force the owner to deal with problems, dating back to 1985, according to the staff report.
According to the report, the owner operates a home-based tree service business and has often brought materials back to the property to store or re-use. Several vehicles associated with the tree service have been parked on the street nearby, and outdoor work – including lumber milling in the street - has violated local bylaws, according to the staff report.
Among issues the city has clashed with the owner about: repeated citations for “unsightly premises”, installing a wood burning furnace that was not in compliance with the building code, violations of electrical, plumbing and gas regulations and unpaid business licence fees.
According to the staff report the city has issued fines and taken the owner to court several times.
A fire that broke out in September 2018 caused significant damage to the house on the property.
The following year, in 2019, the owner applied for and received a demolition permit. That permit expired on Feb. 2 and was extended twice, to June 22, according to the report.
Council members agreed it was time to take more decisive action to get things resolved.
Mayor Linda Buchanan noted the situation has caused conflict in the neighbourhood.
“I’ve visited the site. I’ve seen the hazards that are present,” said Coun. Tony Valente, saying the order is a necessary move.
Coun. Don Bell agreed, saying, “After 35 years, it’s time to resolve it.”