A dilapidated and abandoned house that has become a den of feral cats and raccoons is finally set for demolition.
The Juniper Crescent house has been vacant for more than 15 years, and the city has fielded complaints over much of that time. But over the past two years, problems have escalated to the point where council has now told the owners that they must tear down the house, or the city will do it itself and tack the cost onto property taxes.
Photos show a crumbling roof, moldy and broken windows, piles of cat food and other trash in the house’s interior, and a yard strewn with enough trash to nearly bury an upright motorcycle. The second floor of the home, which was built in 1979, has also collapsed.
A Vancouver cat rescue agency has visited the house more than 20 times to trap feral felines, according to city staff.
While neighbours have complained about the home at various times over the last 15 years, bylaw manager Magda Laljee told council recently that the owner had – until the last couple years – responded to calls to secure the house.
“The owner had been cleaning it up, boarding it up and doing all the things necessary so we did not have to bring it to council as a nuisance property,” Laljee said.
But the city hasn’t recently been able to contact the owners directly – although staff say that mail sent to the home appears to be picked up. Taxes on the property, which is assessed at nearly $600,000, have also been paid.
The Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service inspected the property in January and has condemned the building, citing “life and property safety concerns.”
At a meeting earlier this month, council voted to order the owners to tear down the house by mid-June. If they don’t do so, the city will do so itself. A contractor has said that could be done for a between $23,000 and $32,000, depending on the presence of asbestos. That cost would be tacked onto the owners’ property taxes.
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