City struggles to clean up vacant properties
Neighbours of a West End home where a homicide victim was found want the city to do something about the vacant building.
In June, police found Lorna Blacksmith's body wrapped in plastic in the back yard of 797 Simcoe St.
Blacksmith is one of three people alleged to have been killed by Shaun Lamb. Her body was there for months, unnoticed.
The owner of the house passed away and the provincial trustee is in charge of his estate.
"I'm surprised that they didn't come through there and see the body," next door neighbour Maureen Lameroux said.
The property is in bad shape: the roof is caving in, the yard is covered in trash and the windows boarded up. Lameroux worries the place is a fire trap.
"My worst fear [is] fire," Lameroux said. "There's no front door, so I'm sure anybody can go in there."
The city says it relies on bylaws to deal with vacant or abandoned buildings. There are almost 400 such buildings in Winnipeg.
But bylaw enforcement manager Peter de Graaf says it's tough to clean-up a place when the property owner is deceased.
"We're much more streamlined than we were even two years ago. But having said that, we have to go through the proper due diligence," de Graaf said.
The city is handling about 30 properties where the public trustee or relatives of deceased owners are involved.