Demolition spree in downtown

City knocking down derelict houses, 10 so far in new term

City of Maple Ridge on a tear recently

City of Maple Ridge on a tear recently

Maple Ridge keeps on tearing down ramshackle, hazardous buildings, of which the latest three it owns.

The houses at 12037 – 228th St., 22095 Dewdney Trunk Rd., near Haney Nokai Park on 222nd Street, are at the end of their lifespans, according to a city report.

Because they’re vacant, the homes are targets for the homeless, and are expensive to keep secure.

Each of the homes would also require money to be brought up to code and made habitable.

As a result, staff recommended last week that they be demolished.

Bids were received on the costs of demolition, with the lowest at $41,634 to take down all three.

The city usually acquires such properties for use as future parks or roads.

Staff note that asbestos or lead will be removed prior to demolition.

Council also ordered the destruction of two other privately owned homes at its Monday meeting, one at 22332 – 122nd Ave. and the other at 12667 – 227th St. The latter home is about 70 years and has decayed so bad it “poses a hazard and nuisance to the neighbourhood.”

On the west side of the home, the entire roof has collapsed.

Council supported a staff recommendation to order the home within 30 days or the city will do it, and bill the owner.

Any hazardous materials have to be removed first.

The same order was issued to the former house on 122nd Avenue, where an outside wall has buckled and the roof is sagging.

Staff note the building is of the age where drywall filler and ceiling spray contained asbestos. Paint and plumbing containing lead were also used in homes of that age.

The demolition order for that home requires that WorkSafe B.C. rules are followed for safe removal of any hazardous materials.

Ten homes have been taken down since the new council took power in December.

“Some of these buildings, their roofs are caving in,” Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read said.

“I cannot believe these things are standing in our community, so we taking them down. These are coming down quickly.”

Three of those decrepit homes were city owned, but Read didn’t know why they were allowed to deteriorate to the point that demolition was required.

Maple Ridge fire chief Dane Spence said the usual process is being followed.

“The biggest risk, really, is to the firefighters,” in case people have to be rescued from a derelict home if there is a fire.

In April 2013, fire gutted two homes at the entrance to downtown, on Lougheed Highway near 222nd Street. But it took until the next February before the homes were hauled down. Disputes between insurance companies and creditors can delay demolition orders.