Residents of a Winnipeg Street home say they are being vilified by the media and fear they will soon be homeless.
That sentiment was shouted from the doorway of 377 Winnipeg St. as the Western News investigated an RCMP raid on the decrepit home, which saw Mounties leave with a number of air rifles.
The house at 377 Winnipeg St. has become notorious throughout the city as a problem property. A neighbouring landlord has appeared before Penticton city council twice to plead for them to take action over the home, which he said has become extremely run-down, neglected and unkempt.
Since power was shut off to the home, residents have been using kerosene heaters and a portable generator for electricity. Water to the property has also now been shut off.
Tina Siebert, bylaw supervisor for Penticton said they decided to have the fire department do a life and safety inspection of the home, which the RCMP also attended to keep the peace.
“Basically, we wanted to see a bit more of what was going on inside the property,” Siebert said. “We have the fire safety bylaw, as well, the fire inspectors have a little bit more authority with the fire code.”
Siebert said she can’t release details of the inspection.
“We can’t really say yet, but we were glad we got in there this morning,” said Siebert, adding the city continues to receive complaints about the condition of the property.
“This is high on our radar, and it has been for some time,” said Siebert. “Now that power and water service have been cut off from the property, we want to make sure we’re on top of it.
“It’s kind of our top priority right now.”
Siebert said the city is continuing to apply nuisance abatement fees to the property owner.
“Those fees will continue as calls for service from police, fire and bylaw are responded to. Those will be for the property owners to pay, and if not, then on their taxes.”
Peter Weeber said the city’s bylaw department, the RCMP and the Penticton Fire Department have all been working together on all options.
“I know that we are ramping up our efforts there,” said Weeber, adding that after the neighbouring landlord’s appearance at council Tuesday, he asked staff if the city was doing everything it possibly could.
“As long as they’re telling me that they’re doing everything they can, I’m confident,” said Weeber. “But I did review the file on past enforcement actions and I’m very confident in what they’ve been doing.”
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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