Council runs out of patience with hoarder house in Chillwack

Owner had been given 30 days to finally clean up the property, before city crews were to come in do the job

It was a mess that grew into a neighbourhood nuisance.

“It’s time to get ‘er done,” Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz told the owner of a Mayfair Avenue home in Chilliwack.

The elderly home owner, whose son suffers from mental illness, had been given 30 days to finally clean up the property, before city crews were to come in and complete the job.

That day came and went and unfortunately nothing was done before the month-long deadline had passed, said Mayor Sharon Gaetz.

“I’m not sure council has a choice because nothing has been done.”

Photos of the residence showed a broken front window, tarped section of a sideyard, accumulated garbage bags, vehicles, and overgrown weeds.

Owner Pauline Jollymour stood up in council chambers Tuesday night and asked council for more time.

“It’s very hard for me because I’m over 90,” she said. “I do want to clean it up and I want to do the right thing. I do want to.

“But as long as he is against it, it makes things very difficult,” she said referring to her son, who she says has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). “It’s hard to move ahead.”

A cleanup order by council means the costs to remediate the property will be added to the owner’s property taxes.

The mayor tried to reason with the owner.

“When someone suffers from OCD, or what some people call hoarding, I know it’s difficult.”

But the city doesn’t have jurisdiction to help in mental health issues, she said, which is more the role of Fraser Health.

“In the meantime we have to look after neighbourhood concerns here.”

It’s been called a “nuisance” and a “hazard” with allegations of rats and untouched trash.

“Your neighbours are very unsettled. They were called busybodies but they have been kind and patient. I’ve run out of patience. If you want to put the blame on your son, you may do do.”

The mayor called the state of the house and property “disgusting” and “very filthy,” adding the owner had to take it seriously and tell her son the crews would be coming for the cleanup.

“I wish there was another way, but he has shown callous disregard for the neighbours.”

The owner seemed resigned at the end of it.

“It’s up to you what you want to do with me,” she said.

“This may be a blessing in disguise,” the mayor told her. “This way you have no say. Council takes the responsibility. Your son has no other option.”

Gaetz said she looked forward to the day when it was all done, and that more time probably wouldn’t help. The neighbours were fed up and can’t wait any more.

“I hope this helps you.”

The owner persisted.

“All I ask is for more time.”

But it was too late for a reprieve.

“That won’t do anything. It would just be prolonging the inevitable. Let’s get ‘er done. Let’s get ‘er done.”

“I’m very sad,” said the homeowner.

“We’re all sad,” said the mayor. “This doesn’t give us any joy.”

Gaetz reassured her when it comes to mental health issues, it’s not a case of her failing as a mother.

Coun. Stewart McLean told her he understood as someone with counselling experience.

“I want you to know I have empathy for your situation.”

Coun. Jason Lum called it the “hardest” vote he’d be taking that night and said he was reluctantly voting in favour of the cleanup order.

“When I think about Mrs. Jollymore standing up here, she could be anyone’s mother or grandmother,” adding that it’s sad this whole situation “comes to rest at the feet of city government.”

“I hope the neighbourhood watches and thinks about it more compassionately as well.”

City staffer Garrett Schipper escorted the elderly resident from council chambers, gingerly holding her elbow.

Just Posted

Chilliwack man feeling helpless about puppy stolen while at church

Evidence of neighbour trespassing and accusing him of dog neglect not enough for RCMP

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack man has been found

Chilliwack RCMP is thanking the public for keeping an eye out

UPDATED: Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read