Town tells landlord he has no jurisdiction

Town tells landlord he has no jurisdiction

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The Town has written a letter to a mobile home park owner telling him he has no jurisdiction to enforce Oliver’s building bylaws.
Council addressed the issue last week after a call for help from residents at Tradewinds Estates on Tucelnuit Drive.
Brian Wensley, chairperson of Tradewinds Tenants Association, said park owner William (Gus) Kirsch is causing a great deal of stress for seniors by saying they must remove part of their units from the lakefront because they encroach on Crown land and/or violate the Town’s bylaws.
This fall Kirsch began building a fence directly in front of lakefront units to prevent snowdrifts in the park. But he can’t finish it because people’s sheds and decks are in the way.
Tradewinds resident Herb Moore recently told the Chronicle it appears the homes are being fenced off from the lake, resulting in property value plummeting.
Moore said the lakefront units effectively block the wind from the north, so the fence is not required since the snow drifting is caused by wind from the east.
He noted the problem would easily be solved if Kirsch plowed the roads on a regular basis.
Moore believes the real reason for the fence is to make life miserable for the folks living on the lake . . . to the point they will either swallow a large pad rent increase or move on.
According to Moore, Kirsch approved a garden shed on the lakefront in 2005, but is now demanding that it be removed.
Kirsch could not be reached for comment, but in a letter to the Ministry of Lands and Forests, he stated tenants have consistently complained of snow blowing off the lake, causing drifting on the road. He noted a snow fence would alleviate this, but part of a mobile home needs to be removed before the fence can be completed.
In a letter to homeowners Rodney and Edna Fawcett, Kirsch said the storage shed they added to the south end of their home violated the Town’s bylaws in terms of size and location, and must be removed immediately.
But the Fawcetts claim that Kirsch previously approved their shed. However, Kirsch disputed this.
“I positively have never authorized your shed construction and I fail to see how you claim my approval when just last year you didn’t even recognize me when you confronted me about my rightful presence in Tradewinds,” Kirsch wrote in response.
In a letter to Elizabeth Hidlebaugh, Kirsch said her sundeck is illegal under Mobile Home Parks By-law 335-1977. Therefore, it must be removed immediately.
In another letter to Melvin Ducharme, Kirsh said his mobile home encroaches onto Crown land by seven feet, which is 12 feet north of where it’s allowed to be. Therefore, this portion of the unit must be removed.
“Due diligence at time of purchase would have revealed this situation,” Kirsch said.
Wensley disputed much of the landlord’s claims, saying Kirsch should have performed his own due diligence to ensure the park complied with local bylaws when he purchased the property.
“It is our belief that the landlord is clearly doing this as retaliation against the lakefront units and anyone he thinks is responsible for his loss at a recent arbitration attempting to extract rent increases of over 30 per cent for the lakefront properties,” Wensley said.
He noted that Kirsch’s barrage on the elderly is causing health issues, and he asked council to step in and provide relief. He recommended a letter be sent to the landlord telling him he has no jurisdiction to administer or enforce the Town’s bylaws.
Wensley suggested the Town do an inspection of the entire park and provide an amendment or variance . . . basically accepting the current improvements (additions) that were made.
While council agreed to send the letter, Councillor Dave Mattes cautioned that the landlord may request that the Town enforce its bylaws in this case.
Municipal Manager Tom Szalay said the Town has never initiated any enforcement in Tradewinds. In fact, the municipality has no legal obligation to enforce any of its bylaws, Szalay said.
Councillor Jack Bennest said it appears the landlord is “pushing tenants around” for something happening today that was never enforced years ago. He noted the Town has to make it clear that any bylaw infraction is for staff to enforce, not the landlord.
The Town is currently revamping its mobile home park bylaws, subject to a public hearing in December.

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