It was an emotional public hearing just over a month ago that saw many residents of a Penticton neighbourhood turn out to oppose a duplex planned for the area.
Residents living around 711 Creekside Rd. cited concerns that the new duplex would add too many vehicles to an already busy, narrow street. What they didn’t expect was to be left with an eyesore soon after.
Lydia Tymchuk, one of the protesters and next door neighbour to the property, said that it didn’t take the developers long after council granted the variances they needed to begin work on the property. However, they did so without first getting a demolition permit.
“The council meeting was Monday (May 6). Thursday one of the people spoke to me and said they were going to clean up the place a bit,” said Tymchuk. But when she arrived home from work on May 10, it was to discover that the garage had been levelled, the siding stripped from the existing single-family house and a backyard tree on the fence line cut down.
“To say it is unattractive is putting it mildly. The tarpaper blows off in the wind. It looks horrible,” said Tymchuk. “To me, cleaning up the place a bit does not seem to be what happened here. To leave a place looking like this, I think it’s embarrassing.”
A month later, the lot is in the same condition. Work ceased when the City of Penticton issued a stop work order on May 10, and nothing has been done to clean the lot up, according to Tymchuk. She’s concerned now that the developers aren’t planning to get back to work until late in the summer.
“Is this what I am going to be looking at for months now?” asked Tymchuk. “Why would you get to this point and have no plans of going any further? The tarpaper literally does blow off in the wind.”
Building and permitting manager Ken Kunka said the city hasn’t received an application for a demolition permit for the property, suggesting that the delay might be due to the developers arranging for a hazardous material assessment, to check for asbestos and other dangerous construction materials. That would be a necessary step, he said, before the city could issue a permit to tear down the house. He also agreed that demolition work shouldn’t have started, and that the property had been left in a less than desirable state.
“I’ve seen worse, but I can understand why the neighbour would be upset,” said Kunka, noting that the city hadn’t yet received a formal complaint from any of the neighbours.
He did say, however, that the city could start encouraging the developers to take care of the property, which, if left long enough in this state, it would start sliding into the vacant building section of the Good Neighbour bylaw introduced last year. For her part, Tymchuk would like to see the property cleaned up properly.
“I really don’t see how anyone else could get away with leaving this. I would like to see them clean up their mess and follow the laws like anything else,” she said.
The developer could not be reached for comment.