A group of homeowners in the west end of Windsor, Ont., is petitioning city council to allow vacant homes in their neighbourhood to be demolished.
The Boarded Up Houses Demolition Action Group has collected 230 signatures that it will present to council at its regular meeting Monday night.
The group wants council to issue demolition permits to the Ambassador Bridge Company, which owns more than 100 vacant homes in its neighbourhood. The homes are west of Huron Church Road and south of Tecumseh Road West.
The homeowners say the boarded-up homes are unsafe eyesores and must be torn down.
The bridge company has said it wants to tear the homes down and landscape the area. But city officials have said they won't issue demolition permits until the company submits its development plans.
Homeowners are hostages: Payne
The dispute has made pawns and hostages of the homeowners, according to Hilary Payne, who heads the action group.
"I don't think I've ever seen a clearer example of hostage-taking, outside of perhaps some other countries in the world," Payne told CBC News. "This is actually taking hostage of hundreds of people for this illegal purpose."
Payne and her counterparts are threatening the city with legal action "including an action for damages on behalf of the affected residents," said lawyer Ray Colautti, who is representing them.
Though Coun. Caroline Postma has filed a notice of motion asking Mayor Eddie Francis and city council to allow the homes' demolition, other councillors remain split on the issue.
"There's a process here, and the process is you have to apply for the demolition permit and you have to state what is you plan on doing," Coun. Fulvio Valentinis told CBC News.
"Mediation would be a good way to go, rather than continuing to fight at city council meetings," countered Coun. Alan Halberstadt, referring to a protest by homeowners at a meeting on Nov. 23 that became so rowdy that city officials called police to have the homeowners escorted out.