No tax break for 'cat house' neighbours

The City of Corner Brook has denied a request from Keith and Doris Cormier to lower their property tax because of the stench from a nearby house which they say has lowered their property value.

Corner Brook couple sought relief due to stench, eyesore

Vandals have helpfully sprayed lettering on the decrepit dwelling where 200 cats used to live. (CBC)

A Corner Brook couple has been denied the tax break they wanted for having to live next door to an abandoned home known locally at the "cat house."

On Monday, councillors unanimously denied the request from Keith and Doris Cormier to lower their property tax because of the stench and eyesore next door, which they say has lowered the value of their property.

Keith and Doris Cormier say the stench from the house has lowered their own property's value. (CBC )

"They [council members] seemed to be more concerned with the policy of it, than with the people that live on this laneway," said an exasperated Keith Cormier. "And what we have behind us here is an 800-square-foot outhouse that's ripening.

"If the city wants to come up and dump four or five tonnes of agricultural lime to get us through until they tear it down, please feel free to come up and do it."

200 cats lived in house

The house was a squalid home to more than 200 cats which were removed by the SPCA one year ago.

A shed on the property was torn down last June but the house, which was damaged by fire in August, still stands.

Council passed a motion in November giving the owner of the property 30 days to fix up his house, or have it torn down. But the abandoned house remains standing.

The Cormiers say three real estate agents appraised their property and told them the value has dropped significantly due to its proximity to the "cat house."

Owner in court over issue

Property owner Chris Green has been in court dealing with charges related to the condition of his house, but he declined to talk to CBC about the situation.

Doris Cormier said she can't understand why no one has been able to do anything about the stinky mess next door. 

"Even though I am living right next to the place, I am still in disbelief that this has been left here like this for us to deal with and nobody seems to care," she said.

The Cormiers said the smell gets worse as it gets warmer, which means they may have to live somewhere else for the summer.