City council moved ahead with plans to demolish a home damaged by fire four years ago despite pleas from the property owners to allow for more time to decide what to do with the place.

The home in question sits boarded up at 1590 Garcia Street, and the owners of the property were given 30 days to comply with remedial action to repair or demolish the structure at a council meeting in July.

Owners Dale Sidhu and Devinder Brar from the Lower Mainland spoke to council at its regular council meeting last Tuesday night to request more time to decide for themselves whether or not to demolish the home or have it repaired.

Brar estimated they needed two months to determine which route makes more sense. 

The house was burnt in a fire deemed to be arson back in 2010 and since that time, the owners were issued seven orders to comply for unsightliness and safety issues. To date, no action has been taken by the owners themselves. The house has also been deemed a safety risk by the fire department.

Brar told council their insurance company refused their claim, and they have fought in court over the issue.

Despite sympathizing with the owners, Coun. Dave Baker pointed out the fire occurred four years ago and noted the seven orders to comply that were made.

“I find it very hard to believe that you haven’t done anything in four years, yet in the next two months everything’s going to magically come together,” Baker said.

“It has been an eyesore,” he said of the house.

Council was not swayed by the owners’ presentation and voted unanimously in favour of upholding the original date of the order to comply, which has now passed.

Planning and development services manager Sean O’Flaherty pointed out the lack of communication with the city on the part of the owners of the property over the years.

“There’s a communication piece that was missing there. They weren’t keeping us up to date,” O’Flaherty said.

The City of Merritt will look into estimates from contractors on the price of demolition work and repair to the property, the city’s chief administrative officer said. He said the timeline for demolition will depend on availability and is uncertain how much it will cost the city to demolish the house.

The bill for the demolition will be sent to the property owners.

Coun. Clara Norgaard was absent from the council meeting.