People living near a vacant building in the city’s core say they fear for their safety. The building on King street east that used to be a restaurant has been broken into and is now a place where drug users gather.
The homes that border the property have neighbours worried. They say there are people coming in and out of the vacant building at all times, screaming in the middle of the night, some even overdosing. Neighbours say two weeks ago mattresses from the building caught fire, the blaze spreading to the neighbouring fences.
“Six months ago I called the police because I saw a fellow deliberately light something on fire at the back of my house. I’m worried that I’m going to wake up and my house will be on fire too.” Neighbours say they’ve made multiple complaints to the city regarding the squatters.
Ward 2 councillor Matthew Green says today is the first time he’s hearing about this problem. Neighbours say shortly after CHCH crews arrived, it was the first time they’ve seen a bylaw officer inspect the place and put a clean up notice on the door for the owners. If it’s not cleaned up by May 21st the city steps in.
Matthew Green says because of all the attention on the building now, it will be put on a vacant building registry. Once it’s on this registry, the city will be inspecting it regularly and they will be able to board up these doors and windows so that no one can get in.