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White Rock neighbours still await city intervention on garbage complaint

Neighbour Mitchell Spreitzer said the only response to his previous concerns about health hazards from garbage at an unoccupied duplex on Nichol Road was the removal of containers of asbestos waste and the erection of a fence - but household waste remains strewn around the property. - Alex Browne photo
Neighbour Mitchell Spreitzer said the only response to his previous concerns about health hazards from garbage at an unoccupied duplex on Nichol Road was the removal of containers of asbestos waste and the erection of a fence - but household waste remains strewn around the property.
— image credit: Alex Browne photo

Household garbage is still strewn over the front lawn and around a White Rock duplex – close to three months after it was left by departing tenants.

Resident Mitchell Spreitzer said the mess remains at the 1575/1577 Nichol Rd. property neighbouring his own – in spite of complaints to the city, bylaw officers’ requests to the owner and a Peace Arch News news article published on Aug. 5.

The unoccupied duplex  – for which a demolition permit has been requested by the owner –  had also had three large metal containers full of asbestos insulation waste on the front lawn and the driveway.

“About the only thing that happened was, right after the story came out, the three large bins full of asbestos were pulled out and they put up a blue fence,” he said.

But Spreitzer said that hadn’t been the principal concern of himself, and his wife, Michelle Jorgensen.

Garbage of all kinds – including rotting meat – was left on the lawn, the driveways and all around the house up to the edge of Spreitzer and Jorgensen’s Coldicutt Road property, leading to concerns it would attracts rats to the neighborhood.

Almost a month later, little has changed, Spreitzer said.

“It doesn’t look any different – there’s still stinking garbage everywhere,” he said. “About three days after the story, the guy who owns the property talked to my wife, and said he was sorry, he’d been away. He promised to clean it up right away, but we’re still waiting.”

Spreitzer has said that while he was aware the owner is planning to redevelop the property, he doesn’t see why that should make it exempt from community standards in an area that boosts numerous well-kept and high-priced homes.

“I’m really discouraged with White Rock city,” he said. “I pay $5,000 in property taxes each year, and they don’t do anything.”

At the time the story was first reported, city communications officer Shannon Levesque said bylaw officers had been by the property and had requested the owner to remove the debris, but she could not confirm whether a time limit had been imposed or whether the city had recourse to enforce its unsightly properties bylaw. At PAN press time Wednesday, she was checking to see whether there had been further action.

For Spreitzer, it’s a drama that has been ongoing since he contacted the city planning department in June of last year to complain that the building was being used as a fourplex, contrary to the neighborhood zoning.

After a city investigation the owner was given until May 29 of this year to remove the additional suites.

At the time the last tenants left, a large amount of asbestos insulation was also removed from the house, which was placed in containers under WorkSafe BC supervision.

Although a fence was installed around the property, Spreitzer said many health and safety issues remain.

“I could go to the city and complain, but what’s the use?” he said. “We all pay a lot of money in taxes and it could happen to anyone of us.”

 

 

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