Fire-damaged buildings have to come down

"The neighbourhood needs us to make this decision," Mayor Sharon Gaetz said before council voted for remedial action at 46392 Yale Road

A downtown property was the subject of remedial action requirements this week.

An abandoned property in downtown Chilliwack has harboured a meth lab, squatters, arson and vandalism over the years.

Now city officials are taking action.

This week Chilliwack council used its authority under the Community Charter to impose remedial action requirements on the property that could lead to demolition of the fire damaged structures, and a cleanup at the site, all at the owner’s expense.

There were 22 bylaw complaints connected with that address since 2009, for anything from animal control issues, to insecure premises, squatters and even methamphetamine production and sales.

There were two fires at the property this year, one in the outbuilding and other in the main structure.

The absentee owner of the property at 46392 Yale Road lives in California and has refused to maintain the property, according to the staff report.

Neighbours have complained about the deteriorating state of the property that’s littered with weeds, glass and garbage, and considered by the fire chief to be “a fire and life safety hazard” for officials as well as trespassers who may inhabit the dilapidated building.

City officials spent considerable time trying to get the owner to take action on the abandoned and hazardous property, and bring it into compliance, according to the staff report.

“I don’t think council has a whole lot of choice right now,” Gaetz said before the unanimous vote to take remedial action. “We’ve tried to work with the owner to no avail.

“The neighbourhood needs us to make this decision,” she said.