MD seeks court order to force clean up of house fire
Heritage Pointe: 2011 fire in high end neighbourhood still under investigation
By: Darlene Casten
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 12:28 pm
Two years after the home burned to the ground remnants still remain; a washing machine drum, charred timbers and the front steps are still piled up at the site of a house fire in Heritage Pointe.
The home was up for sale when the homeowner and her son returned to find their house ablaze.
Now some neighbours are sick of looking at the mess day after day.
They may soon have a much better view. MD of Foothills council decided last week to seek a court order to have the property cleaned up.
Anita Ulisse lives near the razed home and said its about time the mess is cleaned up.
“First of all it’s not safe and we have a lot of children in this cul-de-sac,” she said.
The mess is also a black spot in the neighbourhood and in the community, Ulisse continued.
“Its messy and dirty,” she said “When the wind blows the debris blows across here,” she said.
Ulisse believes some people on the road have had trouble selling their home because of the mess at the end of the street.
Catherine O’Nyons lives next door to the mess and has to look at every time she leaves her front door.
“I think its an eyesore,” she said of the rubble.
O’Nyons said when the wind picks up they hear a lot of noises from the lot next door.
“When the wind blows they are banging,” she said.
She was encouraged last week when an SUV parked on the property was removed from the property, but said its time to take away the rest and turn it back into a usable lot.
“Its going to be a good thing,” she said.
Both neighbours said they haven’t seen the homeowners since the fire.
Ulisse said the woman living in the house told her she didn’t want to live there.
The home was up for sale at the time of the fire.
The MD has been aware of the issue for some time, but were waiting for the fire and police investigation to be at a point where they could go ahead with a clean-up order, said MD protective services supervisor Geoff Carpenter.
He said a file was started last year and they first contacted the homeowner in early January.
The MD received only one complaint, but municipal enforcement officials said the community association has received multiple complaints about the property.
The community association did not want to comment on the issue.
MD bylaw officer Denise Stewart told council she talked to the homeowner about clean up. Since then an SUV sitting on the property and a part of a fence has been removed, but the rest of the mess is still there. After speaking with the homeowner, bylaw posted a remedial order at the site. The homeowner asked for a review of the order, which council turned down last week and then instructed Stewart to proceed with seeking a court order to have the site cleaned up.
Stewart said the homeowner is hoping to replace the home on the site.
“She did state she wanted to rebuild,” Stewart said.
She said the owner, a woman now living in Calgary, told her she was expecting an insurance pay out, but hadn’t received one yet.
It may not be that simple, however. The fire is also under investigation by MD fire officials, the Okotoks RCMP and Calgary Police Services. It was originally deemed suspicious.
“There are ongoing investigations and the insurance has its own point of view and the homeowner has its own point of view,” said MD of Foothills municipal manager Harry Riva Cambrin. “It’s a matter between them.”
MD fire chief Jim Smith said he can’t comment on their investigation at this time or if a cause of the fire has been determined because of the ongoing police investigation.
The status of the police investigation couldn’t be determined by the Western Wheel’s deadline.