Owner of derelict Kelowna house surprised by city demolition order | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Owner of derelict Kelowna house surprised by city demolition order

No fence could protect the neighbour if this collapsed.
July 29, 2021 - 7:00 AM

The owner of a derelict home in Rutland seems to have been taken off guard by Kelowna city council's order to tear the building down earlier this week.

“He (Janusz Grelecki) called me and said he was surprised that this was going on,” Ryan Smith, the city’s community planning department manager, told iNFOnews.ca. “I said 'I don’t know why you’re surprised. None of these things have gone away. You haven’t fixed any of the problems. We’re not just going to leave you alone'.”

Grelecki bought the home in 2010 and things went downhill from there, Smith said.

“(There are) neighbours there who are very unhappy,” Smith said. “We have a number of complaints and there are a bunch of safety issues out there.”

Grelecki has a long history of building without permits and not to building code standards, plus a large part of his second-storey roof has been open and unfinished for at least four years. Despite that some comments on social media say the city should back off.

“Shame on you Kelowna city staff and Infotel,” Alexandra Bacon posted on Facebook in response to an iNFONews.ca news story last week. “This is absolutely disgusting behaviour from both of you.

READ MORE: Kelowna city staff wants home with 'life safety concerns' torn down

“Instead of ordering him to pay to tear it down and possibly face homelessness, why (don’t) you raise money to help him clean it up? Or mind your own business? Obviously, he's a working man and he's trying to renovate the place the best he can.”

iNFONews.ca was told by neighbours that Grelecki has a farm that he works on and that he lived in a small part of the house that did have windows. The "renovations" have been going on for 11 years.

Others suggested that he simply be ordered to build a fence.

The house is two storeys high and virtually fills the entire lot so there might not even be room for a fence.

If there was, it would do nothing to stop the second storey from crashing into the house next door. That’s just a metre or two away.

The city has tried to work with Grelecki over the years with no luck.

“We’ve been there so many times and given him so many chances and there’s never been any real legitimate follow-through,” Smith said. “There are so many things that have been grossly incomplete. He really hasn’t taken the city’s requirements seriously.”

The city will deliver a letter to Grelecki telling him that he has 14 days to file a written appeal to city council to reconsider its decision.

After those 14 days, the “clock starts ticking” on a list of timelines Grelecki must follow to, first of all, apply for a demolition permit. Then he has 42 days to remove all personal possessions and 60 days to remove all hazardous materials.

The house, including foundation, decks, swimming pool, retaining and landscape walls, temporary structures, vehicles, equipment, imported material and earth fill have to be removed within 120 days then the land needs to be regraded and planted with native plants.

If Grelecki fails to take action, the city can hire a contractor to go in and do that work and recoup costs through taxes, Smith said.

Grelecki could not be reached by iNFOnews.ca for comment.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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