Nova Scotia

Judge refuses to block demolition of self-described hoarder's home

The demolition of a North Sydney house belonging to a self-described hoarder can go ahead after a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge denied Friday the owner's request to halt the process.

Sylvia Dolomont, of North Sydney, says she is devastated by decision

A building manager with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality told the court Sylvia Dolomont's home has rotting joists and is structurally unsound. (Jennifer Ludlow/CBC)

The demolition of a North Sydney house belonging to a self-described hoarder can go ahead after a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge denied the owner's request to halt the process.

Justice Robin Gogan made the ruling Friday in the case of Sylvia Dolomont. The woman, who is in her 70s, was issued a demolition order in January when her house was deemed unsafe by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. 

At that time, the bungalow was filled with rotting garbage, debris and mould.

Dolomont leaves a Sydney courtroom Friday. (Jennifer Ludlow/CBC)

Paul Burt, the manager of building, planning and licensing laws for the municipality, told the court the building is not structurally sound. He described rotten deck joists and box sills.

"It's a one-storey bungalow, so if the floor fails everything else above it comes down on top of it," said Burt.

Dolomont hasn't lived in the house for a number of years.

Burt said since 2008, his department has been receiving complaints from neighbours about garbage, debris and an odour they say attracted rodents and raccoons.

"We've tried to work with Ms. Dolomont," said Burt. "We don't want to leave her homeless. We're concerned about her health as well as the health of the neighbours, first responders and, you know, the whole community at large."

Owner wants for compassion

Dolomont called Friday's decision devastating and said she wished the municipality had "some compassion" for her.

Her lawyer, Nicholas Burke, said he hopes the house can still be saved from the wrecking ball.

"At this point, we will attempt to come back to the table with the municipality and avoid the demolition of Ms. Dolomont's property," said Burke.

Burt agreed to meet with Dolomont next week to try to map out one more plan to save her home. If an agreement can't be made, the municipality has legal authority to take down the house.

Dolomont said she would like to complete the work needed and move back into the house.

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