Calgary haunted house can go ahead with modifications after bylaw complaint
Neighbour complained Quinn Motteram's spooky driveway creation was a hazard
For the past three years, 19-year-old Quinn Motteram has transformed his family's Panorama Hills driveway in northwest Calgary into a scary destination for trick-or-treaters.
But this year, it looked like it wasn't going to happen.
Instead of skeletons or black curtains decorating his corner home, Motteram scrawled in dripping red paint across a piece of plywood this bone-chilling message: "Thanks to whoever called bylaw. No haunted house."
It seems a neighbour had complained, saying the haunted house created a blind spot for drivers in the intersection.
"We were told we had a week to tear it all down," he said.
But on Wednesday night, Motteram reached a compromise with city officials that will allow him to keep the spooky tradition alive.
He'll have to shave about a metre off the corner of his haunted house, and remove its roof and use a tarp instead.
"It sucks, but it will work," he said.
Hundreds of neighbours had signed their names to a petition posted to the structure, hoping to save the haunted house.
"We don't do it for ourselves, we do it for the community, for the kids, and we do it for the food bank — we collect donations for the food bank," said Motteram said, who had already put about 75 hours of work in this year when the city got involved.
No permits are needed to build a haunted house, but once a solid roof is attached the city considers it a permanent structure.
Motteram said he'd like to see more guidelines from the city on how to establish a haunted house — even if that means paying for a permit.
"As much as it would suck to go through permits and all that sort of stuff to be able to do it, I think it does make sense because it makes it safe for everyone and it makes it a way to do it without the complaints," he said.
That's something Christine Campbell with the Canadian Haunters Association, a national network of haunt enthusiasts, agrees with.
She said her heart sank when she heard about Motteram's plight, because she's been in the same position before.
"We've invited the City of Calgary and other municipalities to the table to be part of those talks to create a set of guidelines. To date it hasn't happened, but the offer is still very much there," she said.
With files from Terri Trembath