City-owned house's grass cut, but neighbour says home still a derelict 'blight'
City of Winnipeg property so deep in disrepair, neighbour says it attracts crime
A North End resident is fed up with his neighbour's derelict house — but the problem is, his neighbour is the City of Winnipeg.
"It's a blight. I get up in the morning, I got to look at that?" said Dan Nemis, who lives on Pritchard Avenue. "This invites crime. This tells vandals, the bad people, the criminals, 'Hey! This area is not not doing well!'"
The house has been vacant for decades and all of its windows and doors are boarded up. The City of Winnipeg took over the property more than a year ago because the owner wasn't taking care of the vacant building.
But Nemis said now that the city owns it, it's only fallen further into disrepair. As well, he said the grass and weeds on the property were left to grow until they were almost two metres tall.
"They're not taking care of it. They're doing a worse job than the absentee landlord," said Nemis, who wants the home demolished or, at the very least, tidied up.
He said he called the city's 311 hotline to complain on June 9, but it did not make a difference.
"That grass was quite high [on] June 9," he said on Wednesday. "Look at it now, it's over five feet."
A City of Winnipeg spokesperson told CBC News that the grass on the Pritchard Avenue property was cut on Thursday — not in response to the media coverage, but because crews were already scheduled to go there.
'Raise taxes, cut services,' says councillor
But Nemis said he wonders why it's OK for the city not to maintain one of its properties for two months, arguing that he would likely get a bylaw infraction if he didn't cut his grass for that long.
Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie, who represents the area, said the city is supposed to cut the lawn on a property every 14 to 17 days, but crews are currently facing a backlog.
"It's called raise taxes, cut services … services get cut and they're not able to keep up to the load," Eadie said.
The city spokesperson said, "The mowing of vacant lots is treated with a different standard than park spaces and boulevards. The standard for mowing vacant lots is two times per year but the City has been mowing vacant lots three times per year. This has been the City's practice for decades."
City officials added that it has been more challenging to maintain the grass on the properties "in the current conditions of rain and heat when grass everywhere is growing more quickly."
The city says it owns about 12 residential properties that it plans to sell. Some of the properties were acquired after property taxes go unpaid for years or when owners fail to take care of vacant buildings.
Typically, they either sell or demolish the properties. Nemis said right now, the property won't be easy to sell as is because it's in such bad shape.