© Star photo by Adam Harnum
The vacant home at 35 East Ave. has become a concern of residents living on the street with the smell of oil coming from the property as well as a growing number of rodents and cats which are infesting the land.
CORNER BROOK Some residents of a Corner Brook street are bringing a neighbouring vacant home to the attention of city council due to environmental concerns.
The house at 35 East Ave. has been deemed unoccupied for several years, and several neighbours have taken strides to have the home demolished.
Terrance Barry had been circulating a petition, which claims the property has become an environmental hazard with reported oil leaks, as well as a growing population of rodents and roaming cats claiming the home as living grounds.
The request for demolition, along with the petition, was presented to council during its Sept. 9 meeting, but the case was then turned over to city staff to be decided at a later date. At the time, councillors thought the property was in the possession of a bank.
According to the request from the residents, the house is dilapidated and is a deterrent to the values of other properties on the street.
George Payne, a resident East Avenue for more than 30 years, feels the city should support the request.
“I’m surprised it wasn’t sold a long time ago or beat down so someone else could buy the land,” he said.
The petition also claims the Department of Health was contacted years prior upon the discovery of oil leaks, and the response reported was that city was notified of the situation and a decision to demolish was made. However, no progress was made following that announcement, according to the residents’ document.
Payne said he does not understand why nothing has been done and would like more answers from the city.
“I don’t know who owns it,” he said. “I guess if someone owned it, the city could force them to sell it. Or maybe the city owns it — I don’t know.”
The last resident Payne believes occupied the house was Joyce Major, which he says was about 10 years ago.
The growing concern about the state of the property is something Payne said he and other neighbours feel should be addressed by the city sooner rather than later.
“They should knock it down or, if they can sell it to somebody, to build on the land,” he said. “I’m not even sure you can build there anymore. Maybe the city wouldn’t allow it to be occupied.”
Payne said Barry’s is the property’s most immediate neighbour, and he deserves closure to the issue.
“He lives next door and sees and is affected by all the rats and whatever else is over there,” said Payne.
The final decision now lies in the hands of the newly elected city council.
“Hopefully they’ll do something with it.”