Webster Daniel Parker, the owner of a controversial property located at 9384 Cottonwood Rd., asked North Cowichan’s council at its meeting on Sept. 18 to rescind the demolition order on an accessory building on his property. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

North Cowichan stands by decision to have building demolished

Structure source of compaints for 10 years

There will be no last minute reprieve to save an accessory building in Chemainus that has been ordered to be demolished by North Cowichan.

At its meeting on Sept. 18, the municipality’s council unanimously voted to reaffirm its decision earlier this month to have the illegally-occupied studio/accessory building at 9384 Cottonwood Rd. torn down.

The accessory building has been a source of complaints for more than 10 years, involving neighbours, bylaw enforcers, and police.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Webster Daniel Parker, the owner of the property, asked council to reconsider the demolition order.

He apologized to the neighbours and said he was getting out of the renting business and doesn’t intend to have anyone living in the building in the future.

“It’s a beautiful building and I want to keep it,” Parker said.

“If I choose to subdivide the property, I’ll get some value from it.”

But Rachel Hastings, senior bylaw compliance officer with North Cowichan, advised council against rescinding the demolition order.

She said the issues with the building started about 10 years ago, the same time period that Walker has owned the property.

“He’s not in control over how that building is used,” Hastings said.

“We’ve been back there six times dealing with the same issues and we don’t see this not continuing moving forward. This has already been ongoing for 10 years.”

A number of the property’s neighbours also spoke against council reversing the demolition order.

Geoff Hopps said the building is supposed to be a single-family residence, but he has seen more than 30 cars going by his home on the way to the property every day.

“He (Parker) goes in there at least five times a week so it’s far fetched for him to say that he didn’t know what was going on,” he said.

“This has taken 10 years to straighten out.”

Jamie Stephen said his grandchildren used to wander safely and freely throughout the rural neighbourhood, but they are now frightened to do so.

“That’s because of a 100-fold increase in traffic and the ne’er-do-wells that now frequent the neighbourhood since the property was rented,” he said.

Coun. Rosalie Sawrie said she had heard nothing at the meeting to change her mind about the decision to have the building demolished.

“My heart goes out to the neighbours,” she said.

Coun. Kate Marsh said she hopes that society can do something to help those who were frequenting the accessory building, but she supports having the structure torn down.

Many in the viewers’ gallery erupted in applause when council voted to stand by its earlier to decision to have the building demolished.

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