Owner of run-down North Shore home ordered to pay City of Kamloops nearly $60,000 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Owner of run-down North Shore home ordered to pay City of Kamloops nearly $60,000

This Google Streetview image from 2012 shows the home boarded up and remaining signs of fire damage.
Image Credit: Google Streetview
November 04, 2016 - 6:30 PM


KAMLOOPS - A woman who entered into a legal fight with the City of Kamloops may be re-thinking her decision to sue, after claiming the city trespassed on her property.

In a lawsuit, North Shore resident Lynda Watt claims the city went onto her property to remediate her home illegally, but a Supreme Court judge says that's not the case.

According to court documents, Judge Hope Hyslop is ordering Watt to pay $57,989 in remediation fees to the city plus the city's legal costs.

The disagreement began in 2008, after the residence at 356 McGowan Avenue was damaged by a fire. Nobody occupied the home after that but Watt still owned it. Interior Health inspected the place and found a filthy mess inside.

"Filth present was composed of animal feces, organic matter, food containers, paper products, pet food, debris of all nature, etc. and personal belongings in an unsanitary state," according to the judgement. "The amount of accumulation was such that almost the entire interior surface is covered in several feet of the mentioned debris."

Between 2008 and 2012, several neighbours came forward to complain about the property. A property inspector for the city says he tried several times between 2011 and 2012 to persuade Watt into fixing up the property herself, but she never did.

"Over time, the property deteriorated to the extent (it) was unsightly," Hyslop's decision reads. "Vermin and pigeons accumulated in the inside of the property; odours emanated from the house and the property posed a further fire risk. The plaintiff continued to do nothing."

Mid-2012, the city's engineering department recommended to city council that it remediate the property. Watt told the city she couldn't afford to repair the place, but in the beginning of 2013, she committed to completing certain tasks at the property. Hyslop says Watt failed to complete those.

Watt's requests to the city for extensions on fixing up the home went on until the end of the year, when Watt was served by the city. Watt claims she was never formally served.

City staff, including a contractor, went to the McGowan Avenue home at the beginning of 2014 to remediate it and finished the work by the end of May, which Watt says was trespassing on her property.

"The plaintiff’s claim for trespass and her claim for damages fails and is not proven," Hyslop says in her decision, citing a lack of evidence from Watt.

"There were complaints from the neighbours over several years," Hyslop says. "Her statement reflects a complete indifference to her neighbours."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 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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