SASKATOON -- Following city plans to demolish a vacant Briarwood home, residents in the Caswell Hill neighbourhood are calling on the city to take action in their community.
The city announced plans to demolish a home in the upscale Briarwood neighbourhood after concerns were raised about mold growth. The house has been abandoned for about three years, according to the city. Court documents show the home was once valued at $710,000
On a Caswell Hill Facebook page, one user wrote, “This is a joke! In our neighbourhood we have houses sitting vacant for years before the city will even acknowledge them, let alone demolish. It’s discrimination due to economic inequality.”
Roman Todos, the president of the Caswell Community Association, said he plans to create an inventory of all the vacant homes in his neighbourhood to help address the issue.
“To keep track of what state they’re in, where they are and then get that information to the authorities,” Todos told CTV News.
“I know our community association is very concerned about some of these houses. We are keeping the city apprise.”
When can the city demolish a property?
The Saskatoon Fire Department is responsible for responding to calls about neglected properties, which is a complaint-driven process.
Assistant Chief Wayne Rodger said demolishing a home is a worst case scenario.
“To take such drastic action, it’s a last recourse for us,” Rodger said.
When the fire department first receives a complaint, crews assess the home, identify any problems and determine if the home is breaking a city bylaw. The fire department then issues an order to the homeowner outlining the problems that need to be fixed.
“And we give a timeline that we feel is reasonable. Once it’s ordered, and served to the owner, there’s an appeal process – and we encourage them to appeal,” Rodger said.
If there’s no communication or action taken by the property owner, a demolition order can be issued.
The fire department has demolished 37 properties over the past two years, according to Rodger.
Rodger said destroying a home that looks like the Briarwood house is a first in his career.
“But exterior appearances can be deceiving,” he said.