City committee calls for debris left behind from fire to be cleaned up

People who live near a mound of debris that was left behind after a vacant apartment fire last year don’t want to live with it anymore.

The debris can be found on Sherbrook Street and the city considers the site a hazard and has ordered those responsible to clean up the property by next month. An appeal was launched against the order, but the city’s property committee denied the appeal.

Even with a fence around the property, the committee heard trespassing is a problem and people have been scavenging the area.

As well, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service had to take down an encampment and police have been called three times.

“This property is still unsafe because of the debris there,” said Rob Clements, an enforcement services supervisor.

“This should be gone because it’s a fire hazard, safety hazard and health hazard,” said Cory Gauthier, who lives next door. He added he was one of the people who had to call police to stop people from being in the heap.

On Dec. 12, the city issued an order to demolish what’s left of the building and clear away the debris by Feb. 15.

Access Credit Union is not the owner but holds a mortgage on the site.

In a letter to the committee, the credit union’s lawyer Dougal Grantham appealed the decision, while the credit union negotiates with an insurance company about coverage for the property.

“The premises are simply a pile of bricks and cement which are stable and not in fear of collapse. The property is completely fenced with no means of access permitted,” the letter said.

In the letter, Grantham said the site is secure and there is no risk of fire or explosion.

“You really question why there was an appeal here. It is unsightly blight, it is dangerous. There have been multiple departments attending and wasting their time,” said Coun. Sherri Rollins, who is the chair of the property committee.

Gauthier hopes that means the debris will be gone in short order.

“I want that cleaned up. I want this neighbourhood to really look better without that rubble,” said Gauthier.

CTV News reached out to the Grantham Law Firm for comment and the firm declined the request.

In the letter, it anticipated things would be worked out with the insurance company and cleanup would begin in the near future.

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