Nearly 20 cars towed from Merritt property
Nearly 20 cars, vans and buses are being towed from a Collettville property this week, after the owner neglected them and claimed he is unable to remove the vehicles himself, his family said.
Homeowners are allowed a maximum of two unlicensed vehicles on their property.
But the rule has been abused throughout town, said Bob Davis, bylaw services officer for the City of Merritt.
The cleanup is just the latest in a citywide revitalization project.
“This is what Collettville used to be and it can’t be anymore,” he said. “By the time we are done this property, it is going to be a shining example of what [can happen] when people put their minds to it.”
During a regular patrol, Davis noticed three vehicles on the 0.5-hectare property.
“So I stopped and walked in,” he said. “I started counting [the vehicles]. As I was doing that, the guy next door came out and said ‘I’ve been meaning to call about this for a long time.’”
On Friday, after Merritt Fire Rescue Department’s Fire Chief Dave Tomkinson conducted a safety inspection — in which he asked the media not to participate — a tow truck company started pulling vehicles away.
A Dodge Mirada, Plymouth Barracuda, an old BC Transit bus, and a school bus were among the 20 vehicles. Most of the cars were Dodges and Plymouths.
The vehicles were mainly used for storage.
“My dad’s a model builder,” said Nick Wadden, the owner’s son. “All this has been so hard for a long time. He’s not really able to deal with it, so me and my sister are.”
A crew of vehicle inspectors from Merritt Auto Wreckers was on site to determine the value of parts so the family knew what to keep.
Because the owner is elderly and unable to take care of the property himself, his two children are tasked with facilitating the vehicle collection and cleanup.
The City will front the payment for the cleanup, which was pegged about halfway through the efforts at $1,600 as of press time Tuesday. The property owners are then billed the final amount, which they can pay or have added to their property taxes.
“We’re not even close to being done,” Davis said on Tuesday. “This could take another few days at least. We’re cleaning up one of the largest residential properties in Collettville.”
Each vehicle insurance number was given to police for them to see whether any cars were stolen. The police were still collecting those numbers as of press time Tuesday.
The family wanted to withhold the property’s address for privacy.