Wetaskiwin property owner says court clean-up order was not proper

City of Wetaskiwin agrees to extend clean-up period for Norwood Developments debris

The area in question is posted as no dumping.

The area in question is posted as no dumping.

Anyone who says you can’t fight city hall obviously wasn’t at the regular meeting of Wetaskiwin city council Jan.9.

John Goofers, owner of Norwood Developments, appeared before council in their chambers to appeal a property clean-up order he was issued by mail dated Nov. 23.

The order, issued by the city’s protective services department, involved property located at 3602 49th Street, Plan 7821171, Bl 53, Lot 12 owned by Norwood Developments. The order stated, “As a result of the inspection of the property that occurred on Oct. 6, 2016 by the Engineering Services in regards to the demolition pit located on the property…You are therefore ordered to…remove the portion of the demolition pile that is currently located approximately 8.8 meters onto the city roadway and roadway allowance. You must comply with this order on or before Dec. 14, 2016.”

The letter finished by stating Section 566(1) of the Municipal Government Act gives the city the authority to fine a non-compliant recipient up to $10,000 or a jail term up to a year, or both.

Goofers wanted to appeal the order, and also felt he hadn’t be treated fairly or properly. “I find the period of time very short to deal with this order,” said Goofers to council. He said 20 days was not long enough in a very cold winter to remove the material. Also, he pointed out that, yes, some of the material had come from his property, but some of it was refuse and garbage dumped by unknown people despite the fact the city has a “no dumping” sign right there.

He also questioned why the order was sent in the first place, rather than a city staff member just calling him and talking about the problem. “And I’d like to know why you guys are so heavy-handed all the time,” said Goofers. Goofers said it seems like when a member of the business community applies for something, it takes long periods of time to get a response but he gets an order that includes details about imprisonment.

“You threatened us with imprisonment,” said Goofers. “Where does the city get the authority to imprison people?”

Councilor Wayne Neilson asked Goofers, “How long has that pile been there that you can recollect?” Goofers responded about 12 years.

Councilor June Boyda asked Goofers why 20 days was not long enough. Goofers responded, “It’s just that it’s frozen now.” He said he doesn’t have a problem working with the city, but he runs a business and has a lot to do, often working out of town. He said it’s difficult to just drop everything for this order.

Councilor Patricia MacQuarrie asked if Goofers was willing to clean up everything in the cul-de-sac, not just his debris. There was confusion throughout the evening on this point, as early on Goofers stated Norwood Developments would clean up and crush “anything not on our property,” but later in the meeting Goofers said, “I will not be moving the garbage.” Several times during the meeting the garbage was described as old furniture, propane tanks and other material.

Director of protective services Leigh Sawicki along with peace officers Eric Christiansen and Trent Jager were all at the meeting. Sawicki stated the order was a standard letter that is used in those situations. After some questions from council, Sawicki stated there was a complaint from the city public works department that the cul-de-sac couldn’t be cleaned, so the order was issued.

Councilor Neilson asked why a staff member didn’t phone Goofers to which Sawicki answered several times that staff followed the policy and procedures in place for situations like this, which are actually similar to those in place in other municipalities. He stated that personally contacting people as Neilson suggested isn’t practical when it comes to the time needed.

It was noted the letter Goofers received didn’t have a “contact us if you have concerns” portion, but did have information about appealing the decision.

Councilor Neilson noted there is a big difference between a phone call and a letter threatening imprisonment. “I’m not so sure the person receiving the notice would agree if it’s the same,” he said. “To me, business friendly means having a conversation.”

Councilor Tyler Gandam asked if an order is issued every time a nuisance property pops up. Officers answered that they always issue a letter, though it may not be exactly the same as the one Goofers received. Gandam asked if the consequences of not following the order are always the same, to which officers answered yes.

Councilor Bert Horvey began discussing extending the order time to give Goofers a chance to clean the debris after spring thaw. Neilson said spring was too soon. Councilor Joe Branco noted spring has been known to show up late. Goofers said he’d prefer to pick his own date.

Gandam suggested sending city staff to help clean up the area, as some of the debris wasn’t Goofers.’ Councilor June Boyda opined that it’s possible more garbage was dumped there because other people saw Goofers’ debris there.

Gandam pointed out it was dumped on city property, not Goofers’.

Eventually, councilor voted 5-2 in favour of extending the time period to July 31 for Norwood developments to clean up debris located in the cul-de-sac in question.

 

Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

File photo
Update: Leduc RCMP request assistance to identify armed robbery suspect

Leduc RCMP are searching for suspect involved in an armed robbery at the Leduc Giant Tiger.

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

Most Read