City targets three more neglected properties

Dave Stewart
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Public works will clean up property at Queen and Kirkwood and two abandoned sites

This house on the corner of Queen Street and Kirkwood Drive is one of three properties in Charlottetown that will be getting a visit from the city's public works department.

City council is cracking down on more dilapidated properties in Charlottetown.

Council unanimously passed resolutions at its public meeting Monday, authorizing the manager of public works to move in and clean up three different locations.

The properties are located at 31 Kirkwood Drive, 46/48 Longworth Avenue and 17 Granville Street.

This comes after public works moved in and dealt with the property at 10 York Lane a month ago after years of issues at the location.

Coun. David MacDonald, chair of protective and emergency services, moved the resolutions and told The Guardian later that two of the three properties are vacant.

"Essentially, (we'll be) going in there and take care of something that hasn't been maintained because there's nobody around to look after them,'' MacDonald said.

The most prominent of the properties is the home on Kirkwood Drive, located at the corner of Kirkwood and Queen Street.

Public works will be cutting the grass, removing any fallen trees and subsequent undergrowth that would lead to the existence of animal life. The department will also be dealing with any vehicles that display an expired inspection sticker, thus being considered a derelict vehicle.

As for the house itself, public works will repair or replace shingles at the residence and accessory building, repair or replace the roof and eaves, paint entire structures and any other repairs deemed necessary by a city building inspector. Things like debris and other materials will also be cleaned up and disposed of.

And, it will all come at the expense of the homeowner. When the homeowner can't or won't pay, the city can place a lien on the property and get the money back on resale.

MacDonald said the Kirkwood Drive property has been a concern for quite some time.

"We had previous bylaw officers go there but, at the time, the owner was saying (the layout of the property) was an alternative means of landscaping, that the grasses planted were exotic grasses and that they were being well maintained. They just weren't being maintained the same as the norm around the area.''

MacDonald said the city is reluctant to move in too quickly unless safety, for example, becomes an issue. The city doesn't want to force a homeowner into unnecessary expenses just because neighbours call 'taste' of the property into question.

"I believe lately there was a question there that the property just wasn't being maintained, even in an exotic way. It was simply being neglected.''

In the case of the properties on Granville Street and Longworth Avenue, public works will be looking at repairs required with the eaves, shingles, windows and siding, as well as any debris.

MacDonald said there is a tipping point when it comes to when the city will step in on a dilapidated property.

"The tipping point is probably two things  when everybody in the neighbourhood starts complaining about it and we've got to do something or when it becomes apparent to staff that there's a safety issue.''

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/DveStewart

Geographic location: Kirkwood, Longworth Avenue, Granville Street

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  • jude
    October 05, 2012 - 11:56

    I have knocked on the door several times of this home to offer assistance and no one would ever answer. I could see someone in the window, but no response. If someone doesnt want to be helped, you cant help them. I think its far past time the City finally did something about this issue.

  • Hello
    August 19, 2012 - 12:14

    You make some good points Ashamed T B A I

  • Saddened by the Day and Age
    August 19, 2012 - 11:03

    It saddens me that neighbors/people in general will criticize and enforce bylaws instead of lending a helping hand to their neighbor. Do any of you remember the days when if a farmer's barn burned down all the neighbors would get together and have a 'barn raising'? The same principle should apply here. The owner of the home on Kirkwood and Queen is aware that there have been complaints - as do the neighbors who have complained. Community spirit seems to have gone by the wayside. We have grown into a selfish, 'me, me, me' society. If this person or any other person who finds themselves in this situation (especially in these difficult economic times) could rely on the community in which they live, things like this wouldn't happen... Has anyone considered donating some money and/or labor to help this person with repairs? I've been in this woman's shoes and had to sell my home of 25 years because I couldn't keep up and my neighbors never considered walking to my door to see if they could help - they were more concerned with complaining and how the look of my property affected THEIR property value. The world is going downhill in a terrible way - and has been for many years.

    • LA
      August 20, 2012 - 07:57

      So you think her neighbors should spend twenty years maintaining her whole property including the trees, because she won't move into a place she can handle? That's a bit much to ask. I feel bad for the lady of course, but this isn't a matter of a barn-raising or other one-time assist. Nobody should be crapped on because they can't take on someone else's whole property for the forseeable future.

  • Piet Hein
    August 19, 2012 - 09:46

    Some people just cannot afford to keep their homes look as neat and tidy as their neighbours think they should, but the city should also go after slumlords. There are many slumlords in this city who do nothing to clean up their property either on the inside or the outside. They buy rundown apartment houses cheap, do nothing to fix them up and rent to people who cannot afford any place else. The landlady of one such place on Weymouth Street even took a tenant to the rentalsman when a passerby broke their outside window. The landlady claimed it was the fault of the tenant.

  • ASHAMED to be an Islander
    August 18, 2012 - 23:37

    For the first time in my life I am ashamed to be an Islander. When I read the story about the home on York Lane and how ADULTS gathered on the street and cheered the city workers, all I could think was what happened to all the awareness about bullying not to mention the laws. Yes this is bullying and those who cheered should be ashamed of themselves, there is no excuse even if YOU believe the meanest person on PEI lived there, NO ONE deserves that. The property on 31 Kirkwood Dr is owned by one of the nicest woman I have ever met. She is a 59 year old woman that came home on her birthday to find this on the Guardian website. Nice birthday present to her PEI. She has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know and does a lot for others. Over her lifetime she has done a lot of volunteering within our community, and helps anyone that calls hers no questions asked. She is a very loving and kind person. Unfortunately she has many medical conditions that make it hard to keep up her property and also does not have a lot of money to do necessary repairs. Today a lot of people drove by and shouted rude comments to her as she tired her best to clean up HER yard to EVEYONE ELSE’s satisfaction...This is called BULLYING!!! Her yard is not hurting anyone so why are we Islanders hurting her (YES bullying hurts, does no one watch the news about all the suicides related to bullying). What are we teaching our children, no wonder there is so much bullying in school when this is the way the adults are behaving…Shame of anyone that says anything derogative. Live and let live! Does her yard really hurt anyone? There are many other things that need to be improved on this Island starting with lessons for everyone from 1 to 101 on BULLYING! This is not the Island I thought I lived in!

    • How sad
      August 19, 2012 - 11:33

      This is the exact concern I have about the city doing this. I always worry that the person is not able to fix it because they don't have enough money or are mentally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually ill. What a shame for this dear woman. Does the city really have to announce the properties in the media? Speak privately with the homeowners and then do the clean up! Why do they have to humiliate people? And I agree with you about the neighbours when they cleaned up the property on York Lane. The applauding was so cruel and unnecessary. I don't care how angry they were at the neighbour. What are we teaching our kids?

    • LA
      August 19, 2012 - 14:45

      Because the lady is nice does not mean her property is hurting no one. There is a reason for the bylaw, including her own safety. Since clearly YOU haven't been fixing it for her, and she can't do it herself and hasn't for decades, someone has to. Obviously she doesn't want to sell and move into a place that doesn't require maintainence, which is the usual course of action for those too disabled to maintain a large property. Of course people yelling are rude bullies, but let's get real. You have no reason to be ashamed of anyone but those who yelled.

  • Ashamed to be an Islander
    August 18, 2012 - 23:34

    For the first time in my life I am ashamed to be an Islander. When I read the story about the home on York Lane and how ADULTS gathered on the street and cheered the city workers, all I could think was what happened to all the awareness about bullying not to mention the laws. Yes this is bullying and those who cheered should be ashamed of themselves, there is no excuse even if YOU believe the meanest person on PEI lived there, NO ONE deserves that. The property on 31 Kirkwood Dr is owned by one of the nicest woman I have ever met. She is a 59 year old woman that came home on her birthday to find this on the Guardian website. Nice birthday present to her PEI. She has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know and does a lot for others. Over her lifetime she has done a lot of volunteering within our community, and helps anyone that calls hers no questions asked. She is a very loving and kind person. Unfortunately she has many medical conditions that make it hard to keep up her property and also does not have a lot of money to do necessary repairs. Today a lot of people drove by and shouted rude comments to her as she tired her best to clean up HER yard to EVEYONE ELSE’s satisfaction...This is called BULLYING!!! Her yard is not hurting anyone so why are we Islanders hurting her (YES bullying hurts, does no one watch the news about all the suicides related to bullying). What are we teaching our children, no wonder there is so much bullying in school when this is the way the adults are behaving…Shame of anyone that says anything derogative. Live and let live! Does her yard really hurt anyone? There are many other things that need to be improved on this Island starting with lessons for everyone from 1 to 101 on BULLYING! This is not the Island I thought I lived in!

  • Taweels
    August 18, 2012 - 18:57

    What about the old Taweels grocery/convience on University ave?

  • corrupt
    August 18, 2012 - 17:15

    This is great news! But it is still OK to dump waste in our harbour whenever they want to?

  • to the city
    August 18, 2012 - 14:33

    you people must fell good that complain!!! I think i would rather live by a person who does not maintain their property then live next door to a drug dealer that may be giving your child or friend there next hit to get high.Why does the city not come in and shut down those places or maybe they need a fix themselves.

    • Sic Semper Tyrannis
      August 18, 2012 - 19:24

      Good one about the drug dealers, The lower part of university ave has some very obvious ones with permanent lookouts. The city including Brighton has dozens of dealer houses that go untouched for years .How about blighting drug locations and closing or seizing the buildings Oh wait that would affect the counsil members and politicians that rent them out.

    • Single Mother
      August 19, 2012 - 01:34

      I totally agree! The home beside me is a rental and let me tell you I would rather have a good quite person beside me with grass so high I could not see the home then some of the renters I have had to live beside. One year I am sure the RCMP were there at least once a week. Give me this house on Kirkwood Dr any day if it means I do not get woken up at all times of the night with people coming and going, fights and flashing lights from RCMP cars! Who cares what the home looks like, you do not own it and homes seem to sell pretty fast around there at high prices so I no not think it is hurting the value of any homes.

  • Ryan
    August 18, 2012 - 13:51

    The old Sam The Record Man and old bike shop should be on the top of the list.

  • Sic Semper Tyrannis
    August 18, 2012 - 12:30

    They are lucky I don't own this house I would give it a fresh coat of paint the day after the self righteous clean it up. I think the new colour would be purple with orange or bright green accents. Its likely the only house in that area that doesn't have screaming domestic fights coming from it at night.

  • La Score
    August 18, 2012 - 12:16

    I think it's time to tear down the old Sam's and Bike Shop buildings.They are the biggest eye sore in Charlottetown.

  • Ryan
    August 18, 2012 - 12:10

    How about you start with the old Sam The Record Man building as well as the old Bike Shop,both these building should have been torn down ten years ago.

  • Purpose
    August 18, 2012 - 11:11

    While I think sometimes bylaws are ridiculous, some of these properties are safety hazards. People need to think about how uncut grass can easily catch fire and spread. Then you deciding "to live like a slob" as someone put it does effect me. And everyone commenting about people going over to help them clean up their properties: get off your high horses and do something about it. Its all fine and well to say everyone else should help but I dont see any of you putting your money where you mouth is.

  • ok
    August 18, 2012 - 11:10

    We are wondering if the workers were to do an insufficient job and its taken to court then what? And can someone recommend a top notch roofer?Are there credentials involved to become a roofer?

  • Some Neighbors
    August 18, 2012 - 10:56

    Not all derelict properties are home to the disabled, the sick, or seniors. Many are a mess because the people living there are slobs. I live in a trailer park. The trailer next to mine is owned by a man who lives out of town. He will rent it to anyone with the money in their hands, no questions asked. We have had drug dealers, and just lately a young couple. She didn't work outside the home and she sure didn't do any work at home. He was no better. They never put out their garbage cans, never cut their grass, had parties on the weekends, strangers coming and going constantly. They would throw out plastic bags of garbage into their yard and the skunks would drag it all over the place. I couldn't get anyone to do anything about it. Finally they moved out because they didn't pay their rent or lights. But now I'm just holding my breath waiting for the next tenants to appear.

  • voter
    August 18, 2012 - 10:53

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~THE GENTLE ISLAND ~~~~~~~~~~ i think they should get some free immigrants money that the city has been benefiting from through the PNP --- come on city and province !!!!!-- just make believe these property owners are your friends and find them some free money -- you know how it's done and you will never have to tell anyone --just cover it up --i iam sure some who i have heard urchenk complaining have some prety good patronage points to use up

  • SG
    August 18, 2012 - 09:48

    (Why forcibly do "as a city" what should be done by "the concerned neighbors"?) I would be only too happy to help a neighbour at any time if they weren't able to do any task. However this property's landscape hasn't changed for ten years. Is there actually anyone living in this home? The same truck has been parked in the drive for years. I've never seen anyone on or around this property. If you were a Senior living next door and decided to sell your property to move into an assisted living or senior's apartment but due to your neighbours' property you couldn't sell how would you feel? What if the owner of the property next door didn't want anyone's assistance regarding their property? Presently many Islanders are very concerned about the implementation of HST on our doorstep. Many are considering selling their homes due to the increased cost of living re: HST.

  • Sic Semper Tyrannis
    August 18, 2012 - 09:42

    They are lucky I don't own this house I would give it a fresh coat of paint the day after the self righteous clean it up. I think the new colour would be purple with orange or bright green accents. Its likely the only house in that area that doesn't have screaming domestic fights coming from it at night.

  • SG
    August 18, 2012 - 08:50

    The property at Kirkwood and Queen has looked the same for years except the Grass and Shruberies keep growing Higher. We've passed this property many times on our way Downtown or to Superstore over the past Ten Years. Every time we've passed this property I wonder why someone isn't doing something about it. I don't doubt it will decrease the Property Value of their neighbours' homes. I don't feel other property owners should have to suffer a loss on their properties due to their neighbours.

    • aryastark
      February 15, 2013 - 21:46

      Yeah, just because a building inspector finds fault with someone else's property doesn't mean that my property values have to go down! I think it's a crime that comparables in the area will lower my value though I keep up on my home and property!

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    August 18, 2012 - 08:16

    Bylaws serve a purpose .. but what happens when those bylaws interfere with my rights and freedoms. If I choose to live like a slob, as David says, whose business is it but my own? Why forcibly do "as a city" what should be done by "the concerned neighbors"? If they are truly concerned about anything other than themselves (property values) they would go to their neighbors and do the the work for free as a charitable thing. Would you want me to come into your backyard and rearrange your landscape and foliage just because it doesn't fit my neighbors vision of what a yard "should look like"? These people should pull the twigs from their own eye before telling someone else to.

    • LA
      August 18, 2012 - 10:51

      Because it attracts vermin, lowers neighboring property values, and in the case of a poorly maintained house, is dangerous for the occupant. And if you think a neighbor should be expected to maintain someone else's yard for twenty years because the owner won't, you are quite unreasonable.

    • CrazyTalk
      August 19, 2012 - 12:54

      Nicely Said - BRAVO!

  • Joe Momma
    August 18, 2012 - 08:00

    Make some of the people the court has given 'hand slaps' do it. make them do the work. Why pay a public works crew? There are people on welfare looking for work aren't there?

  • michael le clair
    August 18, 2012 - 07:19

    this is an extremely dangerous initiative. It certainly is not in the tradition of ' loving your neighbor' and it is imposing other people's taste on particular individuals. Those who support it would be well advised to think this one through. Where exactly does this initiative 'end'. First one property, then three, who exactly is judging whom!

  • Crystal
    August 18, 2012 - 00:21

    On my opinion, all of the ideas put out there are just not feasible. Obviously if the people could not afford to bring the house up to code, why should the rest of the neighborhood be stuck with declining property values, when they work hard at keeping their yard up to par. I agree with helping the disabled, but there are groups out there to help them, The Counsel of the Disabled, and the CPA. I think you all are expecting too much. I think it is a great idea as I am sick of looking at it and I do not live anywhere near it. If the person does not live in it, then what difference, the article said two of the houses were vacant, so the owner obviously does not care about the property and will default on the loan. If the government does not do it, are you all that complain about it willing to take time out of your busy schedule to go help them. Of course not, you just want to pass the buck and blame the government. I rarely agree with our government, but this time I do!!!

  • Scott MacIsaac
    August 17, 2012 - 21:24

    Excellent initiative. It addresses the problem with weapons appropriate to the task. Hitting the pocket book has a nasty habit of attacking deadbeat landlords and delinquent land owners. For the tiny number of persons who simply cannot afford to maintain their properties , I am confident that ways and means of assisting could be found.

  • local taxpayer
    August 17, 2012 - 20:55

    It's about time.................amd there are afew ,more out there..people phone them in

  • Flat broke
    August 17, 2012 - 20:45

    So.... If i want some building repairs done, i just let my grass grow (like most in charlottetown) park a few cars in the yard(that can be found at many properties in Charlottetown) and and the city thugs will bring in Mike Homes and make it right. And since i cant aford to clean my yard or mow my grass or fix my house, then i probably wont pay my bank payments and then the bank can pay the mayor. Wow this is a superb idea. I have a better one though. Jave the city inspector deem it unfit living conditions and then order them to clean it up. If they do not comply burn it down... Oh wait, thats what they are saying...

    • LA
      August 18, 2012 - 10:53

      If you can't afford to mow your own lawn or fix your house, it's time to sell it. It's nobody else's fault.

  • City targets the terrorists amongst us
    August 17, 2012 - 20:05

    This is a great example of all the power hungry, rule freaks, bureaucrats that drive right over anybody in their little pathway. How about helping these people and acting like a community instead of "targeting", what a bunch of crap all these rules become. Thanks eh.

    • David
      August 17, 2012 - 23:27

      These people were warned for years not just a week or a month or several months but years! I have no sympathy for cheap or lazy people who let their yards and homes look like crap, I do have sympathy for the elderly or people unable to maintain their homes. The community made the rules which are being enforced, the community voted for the people making the decisions. If you're complaining about "power hungry" "rule freaks" complain to the community. Bylaws serve a purpose otherwise it seems people will just live like slobs.

  • Community person
    August 17, 2012 - 20:03

    This may be a time for a Christian based group or other to offer services at a decent rate for homeowners who may face this in the future. Or for someone to take a Habitat type of approach to help out the sick or handicapped who may not be quite capable of doing the upkeep jobs. The govt wants to try and keep seniors in their homes for as long as possible, so why not a new approach to helping them do just that?

    • Marie Gallant
      August 18, 2012 - 20:56

      Good news, it is about time the City started enforcing their bylaws, why should the neighbours and other city residents have to put up with unsightly premises. I don't know how the mail man could deliver mail to that house as you couldn't see the front door with the overgrown trees. While they are on a roll, maybe they could do something about the slum landlords that rent out the duplexes to students on Upper Queen Street across from UPEI. Drive by any weekend and it is party central with cars all over the lawns and both sides of the street. They just throw out their stuff when they move and there are broken TV sets and glass all over the place. Marysfield was supposed to be an upscale subdivision in the City until they allowed duplexes. From what I hear most of them live off Island so why not enforce the bylaws and bill all them for the cleanup or by adding it to their tax bills. Maybe the next time they decide to rent they will be more selective and have a lease that forbids parking on the lawn, etc. Nobody likes to see any person treated unfairly but in the case of the house on Kirkwood and Queen, this has gone all far too long. If I were the neighbours I would have refused to pay my assessed taxes because the property in question devalued those near by.