Calgary

Calgary haunted house can go ahead with modifications after bylaw complaint

For the past three years, 19-year-old Quinn Motteram has transformed his family's Panorama Hills driveway into a scary destination for trick-or-treaters. But this year, it looked like it wasn’t going to happen.

Neighbour complained Quinn Motteram's spooky driveway creation was a hazard

A homemade haunted house has been shut down this year, after a neighbour called in a complaint to the City of Calgary. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

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.

Brandon Barcena signs a petition to save the Panamount Panic haunted house in Calgary. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

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.

The entrance to the Panamount Panic haunted house last year. Quinn Motteram, who builds the attraction each year, and planned for this year's to be the biggest yet. (Submitted by Quinn Motteram)

With files from Terri Trembath

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.