Chalk up another small victory for a Kains St. resident who has spent the past four years “living next door to a disaster.”
Pauline Wimbush, whose 1890’s-era house abuts an abandoned and derelict cottage-style house at 46 Kains St., has battled Mayor Heather Jackson and city hall in an attempt to have the vermin-ridden structure demolished.
Due to increasing difficulty navigating stairs in her large home, Wimbush is anxious to sell her home and move to a single-storey residence. To date, no real estate agent has shown any interest with what she calls “a tragedy in waiting” lurking to the west of her residence.
In July, after a visit by fire prevention officers Bill Todd and Brian Leverton, the broken windows, missing brickwork and collapsing rear roof were boarded up.
A private contractor completed the work at the expense of the property owner, whose last known address was in Holland.
“We went in originally and found it looked like someone was getting in so we put the order against it to board it up,” Todd told the Times-Journal this week.
“We have authority to secure it against unauthorized entry but any further than that would be up to the city.”
The city’s chief building inspector Chris Peck advised a consultant has entered the house and undertaken a substance report to determine the presence of mould, lead and asbestos.
This is a required step before any contractors can proceed with remediation or demolition.
“Where it sits now, I believe, is the city treasurer has designated the property and they are looking at taking over the property for non-payment of taxes,” noted Peck.
A report from the treasurer will have to come to council before the city can proceed with that action.,
“Our intent is that once that goes through we will sell it as is with the substance report detailing what is in the building, hoping some contractor can come in and demolish it cheaper than we can,” said Peck.
There has been no response from the owner “for quite a while,” noted Peck.
“It’s better to sell it to a contractor who can make demolition part of the whole bundle. Any back taxes owning will be taken out of the selling price.”
A step Wimbush felt the city should have taken some time ago.
“It’s beyond repair now,” she said.
“I have had to continually complain to the city about cutting the grass. It’s just endless. It’s exhausting.
“I’m always afraid kids will go in there. They don’t think about health and safety. It’s just a place to hide and do whatever they want to do. The roof could fall in on them and one of them could be killed or injured because of the neglect.”