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Wrecking ball ordered for decaying home in Coquitlam

A Coquitlam homeowner has been told to tear down her home — or the city will do it for her.

A Coquitlam homeowner has been told to tear down her home — or the city will do it for her.

Monday (July 5), city council declared the house at 995 Cherrybrook Pl. “so dilapidated and unclean as to be offensive to the community.”

In their 60-page report to council, which was filled with numerous photos over the years to show the deterioration of the property, Fire Chief Jim Ogloff and Stephanie James, director of legal and bylaw enforcement, wrote that remedial action is needed to prevent squatters and to keep the surrounding area safe.

They also outlined the police, fire and bylaw history of the property: 

  • more than 50 calls for bylaw enforcement since 2013
  • 19 calls for RCMP service since August 2019 including nine calls for suspicious people and five calls for reported break and enters

Since last November, it’s been boarded up five times at a cost of $4,355 to the owner. 

Tammy Price (also known as Tammy Moricz), who has owned the home since 1992, has not paid those bills and has not been in contact with the city since last July, according to the report. Price also has $3,700 outstanding in bylaw notices.

During an inspection last April with Price, city crews founded rooms up to three feet deep with debris as well as significant mold. A ceiling was collapsing because of a water leak and, in the same room, the wall framing and floor had rotted. As well, there were numerous safety hazards around electrical outlets, and the mechanical room was inaccessible due to the debris.

At that time, the city posted a Do Not Occupy notice on the home and turned off the power and natural gas connections.

In January, crews found squatters had been sleeping in the attic, which had a 20-pound propane tank used for heating or cooking.

The cost to fully remediate the home — which has a 2021 assessed value of $610,700 — would be more than $250,000, Ogloff and James wrote in their report. 

The bill to raze the home would be up to $40,000; that amount would be attached to Price’s property taxes if she doesn’t demolish it herself. 

“Unfortunately, staff have no information about the owner’s intentions in respect of the property or her ability to perform the necessary work,” they wrote in their report.

Coun. Dennis Marsden said the city has had to take an “extraordinary step” for compliance (the last remedial order issued by the city was in 2012).

“This is about community safety,” Marsden said. “This is a neighbourhood that has houses that are very very close together. Should something happen to this structure, I fear for the ones attached to it.”

Council voted unanimously for the remedial action, with Mayor Richard Stewart away for the decision.