Swift Current City Council members voted unanimously to uphold an order calling for a city resident to remove three vehicles from the backyard of a property on 143 Central Ave. S.
An order under the Nuisance Abatement Bylaw was filed in April after the city received a complaint regarding the condition of the yard. Bylaw enforcement officers issued a request that debris on the property be cleaned up, and after some work had been initiated they granted an extension to mid-June. A lack of progress in meeting all the requirements of the order caused the city to issue a cleanup order on Aug. 3, and the matter was brought to Council’s Aug. 22 meeting to resolve the issue.
Robert Shaw spoke on behalf of the homeowner during an Appeal of the Order hearing at City Council’s Monday meeting.
“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t see how they can be bothering anybody or causing a problem,” Shaw said.
“It upsets me when they call them junk vehicles because there’s a 72’ Mustang there, and a 1929 Model A that driveable, and a ’26 Model T,” Shaw said, noting the appraised value of the vehicles have a combined value of almost $26,000. Ironically, the city bylaw would allow all three vehicles to be on the property if they were licensed.
Shaw also highlighted that earlier this year they had been renovating the home and at one time had removed a non-working freezer which remained on the property until they could haul it away. He said this clean up was completed and he no longer considered the property a problem.
Councillor Gord Budd told his fellow councilors that after driving by the property before Monday’s council meeting, he agreed the order should be upheld, noting photos that document the order also show a boat and a camper and other vehicles on the property.
“It doesn’t look good. I drove by and it doesn’t look good,” Budd said during a discussion on upholding the order. “If I was a neighbour I wouldn’t want that next door to me. We put bylaws in place for the reasons that were stated there.”
Budd pointed out that the vehicle’s owners have the option to license the cars or simply store them at a different location.
“I have sympathy towards these folks and the fact that obviously these vehicles mean something to Mr. Shaw. But the backyard in the City of Swift Current is not a place to store your antiques,” Budd said.
“We’ve got bylaws in place for a reason, and we pretty well have to do this,” Councillor George Bowditch added.