Demolition plans leave parents relieved

A house that has caused grief among parents at F.G. Leary elementary for many years is scheduled to be torn down.

A house that has caused grief among parents at F.G. Leary elementary for many years is scheduled to be torn down.

The news came as relief for parents who had voiced concern recently over the boarded-up, run down house at 47045 First Ave.

“The thing is a complete eyesore,” parent Tom Bourree said, with boarded up windows and doors, graffiti, as well as weeds and grasses growing several feet high.

The city has confirmed that the location has received a number of bylaw calls for service over the past few years, mostly to do with unsightly and insecure premises. One ticket was issued this year for unsightly premises.

But it was the potential dangers inside the house that worried Bourree and other parents in the area, whose kids walk by the house going to and from school every day. To curious young children, the father said, a boarded up house contains an element of excitement and adventure. Bourree said many parents have noticed “vagrants” going in and out of the house, and were concerned that a child could go exploring the house and stumble into a bad situation.

“I found out that my youngest had been going into the house with some of his friends, this was during last school year,” Bourree said. “The house had been re-boarded and re-chained, but the squatters in town get in there and pull the boards open, and then the kids get in again.”

He and other parents have been calling on the school district and the city to have the house torn down.

City staff confirmed that a demolition permit was issued for the dilapidated house on April 1, and that an active subdivision application is in process for a 39-unit subdivision.

Bourree said the property has sat in its current state for at least six or seven years, as long as his children have attended F.G. Leary. Parent Theresia Reid said she was told that since the house is not adjacent to school property, there isn’t much the school could do.

“They’ve got things boarded up right now and fenced to an extent,” she said. “But it seems to get pulled down quite frequently by the vagrants that squat there.”

In the evenings when driving by, she has noticed flickers of light creeping out cracks in the house.

“You know somebody’s in there,” she said. “We’re hoping for that house to get ripped down. From an aesthetic point of view its an absolute eyesore, it’s dangerous and it’s attracting a bad crowd.”

She was relieved to hear the news that a demolition permit has been approved.

“It’s really, really good news,” she said. “The house has been a concern the entire time my kids have been in school, so at least five or six years.”

Chilliwack Progress