Around 9:30 a.m. Monday morning, Barbara Trowell put the coffee on and headed upstairs when she suddenly heard a loud bang.
Frightened, the senior hurried downstairs, looked outside her kitchen window, and discovered that an excavator was demolishing the small house in the back of the lot next to her house.
“You sort of think, oh my God,” Trowell said Monday afternoon, still appearing a bit upset about the experience.
“Everything was shaking, it was scary. I thought there had been an earthquake or something. I didn’t appreciate it. I think the City should have notified me.”
Trowell lives in the 400 Block of 5th Avenue East in Prince Rupert. In December, the City had issued a nuisance warning on two small derelict homes, both located on the corner lot next to hers.
Both dwellings were slated for demolition, however an agreement was reached with owner to allow for renovating the home on the front of the property, but to demolish the house at the back by the end of April.
While Trowell had been half expecting the house at the back to come down at some point, that wasn’t what she was thinking about as she waited for her coffee to brew Monday morning.
Susan Crowley lives a block away from Trowell and stopped to chat with her for a few minutes on Monday afternoon.
She told Trowell she and her husband Ian were also surprised by the banging sound.
“Ian heard the noise, ran outside to see what was going on, and learned from a neighbour what was happening,” Crowley said.
Because Trowell was so upset, her son called the City’s Engineering Department Monday morning, and was told under normal circumstances the City doesn’t have to notify residents when it’s demolishing a house.
When contacted by The Prince Rupert Northern View, the City’s building inspector Allen Scott said he was concerned that Trowell had been frightened.
“We’ve never had a problem before and no one’s ever mentioned it, but it was unfortunate. We don’t usually take down houses, normally the owner does. In this case the houses were very close together. I think we’ll have to review the policy and perhaps think about warning people next time,” Scott said.
According to Scott, when action wasn’t taken by the owner to tear the house down, the City moved forward.
“Once we received the necessary paperwork to make sure it didn’t have contaminated materials inside, we proceeded,” Scott said.
Owner Eric Slack said he bought the property a few years ago and it has been a headache ever since. When it came to the demolition it was either he or the City that would have to take responsibility, he said.
“It’s done now and I have to pay for it either way,” Slack commented.