Haunted house breaking bylaws, say frustrated neighbours
Mansion, mystery maze and petting zoo has been running in Village of Stirling for a decade
Some people living in a southern Alberta community say they are tired of dealing with a haunted house nearby.
The year-round haunted mansion, mystery maze and petting zoo in the Village of Stirling has been operating without proper permits for more than 10 years.
Neighbour Catherine Lewington said she is tired of having a popular tourist attraction a few doors down. Lewington said there's traffic jams, noise and public mischief.
"We've personally seen people defecating and peeing in the neighbourhood," she said.
Lewington said she recently discovered the haunted house has been without any permits and she wants the owners to acknowledge they are breaking bylaws.
"To be honest, I didn't think they were running illegally, I thought the town was having some kind of oversight."
The Stirling resident said they recently gathered nearly 200 signatures protesting the mansion — Lewington said that’s more people than voted in the last election.
"This owner has never come to the people and said ‘Hey, you know what, we want to run for three weeks, we'll make sure it's fire safe, we'll make sure there's washrooms, we'll make sure we'll adhere to all the bylaws, just let us have parking on the boulevards, put up with our noise for three weeks’ — they've never done that, instead they go 365 days and break every bylaw."
Richard Reimer, who owns the Haunted Mansion, said he’s aware of Lewington’s concerns, but said many of them are unsubstantiated.
"It does get busy between 7 [p.m. MT] and 9 on, let’s say, a Friday and Saturday night, it does get really busy," said Reimer.
"We have washrooms, so we are going to bring in a port-a-potty for the heavy nights, anyway," he said.
"I don’t think we would be as popular as we are if there we’re all those problems."
Village administrator Mike Selk confirmed the operator doesn't have the proper permits, but said no one has ever complained until this year.
"Council at that time made a decision to act and that's why we are where we are," said Selk.
The village is looking to rezone the property to encompass all of the businesses. Until a decision is made the haunted mansion is allowed to stay open.
Stirling is 35 kilometres southeast of Lethbridge.