Saskatchewan

Regina group calls for abandoned houses to go after 100 needles found

A vacant property in Regina has sparked cleanup efforts from local community group White Pony Lodge, and calls for properties like it to be taken down.

White Pony Lodge cleans up at least 100 needles, knife and condoms from vacant property in North Central

The group picked up piles of trash and items they call dangerous. (White Pony Lodge/Facebook)

A vacant property in Regina has sparked cleanup efforts from a local community group, and calls for properties like it to be taken down.

Shawna Oochoo is with the White Pony Lodge, which is a youth-development organization in the city's North Central neighbourhood.

Over the weekend, the group headed to a house that she said has long been a concern.

"We knew that we were going to find stuff there, but we didn't know to what extent," she said.

Oochoo said the crew found at least 100 needles over the weekend, as well as a knife and condoms. The windows of the house were boarded up and there was trash piled in the stairways.

Shawna Oochoo with the White Pony Lodge says they found at least 100 needles over the weekend. (White Pony Lodge/Facebook)

She said the house's location nearby a youth treatment centre makes it a particular worry.

"When a young person has to walk out and see this occurring, and know that it's occurring on their block, there's definitely a level of concern there for us," she said.

Oochoo said buildings like the one her team cleaned up this weekend need to be taken down.

"It's just being used right now for squatters and there is dangerous and hazardous materials there and I would like to see those areas cleaned up.

"They're not only an eyesore for the community, they're also just a safety concern," she said. 

Fire hazards

The group is especially concerned about the property, as there is a youth treatment centre nearby. (White Pony Lodge/Facebook)

Regina Deputy Fire Chief Layne Jackson wouldn't comment on this particular building, but did say abandoned buildings are required to be properly secured against unauthorized entry to meet the fire code.

"If it's not secured, unauthorized entry can occur. There can be a risk of intentionally set fires, even accidentally set fires that can spread and get out of control," Jackson said.

When fire inspectors find other issues with a property that is out of their jurisdiction, they contact the appropriate department within the city to take action.

"If there are issues we encourage anyone of the citizens to call in and bring out attention to any properties that have concerns with them," he said.

Aside from calls of concern from the public, there are seven inspectors in the city that do routine inspections to ensure buildings are up to code. 

With files by CBC's Samanda Brace

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