Vacant property in Windsor a hot spot for illegal drug use: neighbours
Ricardo Veneza and Bob Bellacicco, CTV Windsor
Published Thursday, August 8, 2019 1:34PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 8, 2019 6:58PM EDT
Neighbours in the area of Wyandotte Street East and Marentette Avenue in Windsor have had enough of the activity at a nearby vacant building and are calling on the city to bring out the wrecking ball.
Neil Ozad lives in the area and says the building at 840 Wyandotte St. E. has become a home for drug use.
“I’ve seen them out here smoking fentanyl; I took pictures of it, took it to the police, shooting up behind the wall over here,” said Ozad. “When is it going to end?”
The vacant building was once the Le Chef restaurant, next door to the old Downtown Auto Service — both businesses were destroyed in a fire on May 23, 2016.
The site is littered with garbage including used needles, condoms and pizza boxes.
Windsor police visited the site Thursday after Andrew Steptoe, who operates a business next to the vacant building, posted a video of the debris potentially revealing stolen items.
It was roughly a year ago when Steptoe led a small community initiative to clean up the property which was in poor condition.
“Literally the floors were swept. Everything was clean. Like, it was washed down in here,” said Steptoe. "It's just a place for them to come get away off the street and they live here and do whatever they want here."
Steptoe claims people use the vacant building as a "chop shop" for stolen bicycles and use drugs on the property.Cheryl Ganney, another area resident, feels not enough is being done.
“It’s just getting ridiculous,” said Ganney. “These walls need to come down. School is going to be starting soon. Kids are going to be coming by here and nobody is doing nothing.”
The city’s manager of inspections, Rob Vani, disagrees.
“We have a mandate to ensure public safety and to follow the legislation on dealing with these types of buildings,” said Vani.
The property owner of the vacant building has already been hit with a hefty fine says Vani, and could face more.
“We just got a conviction last month on this particular property so, we typically still try to work with the property owner even after we’ve received a conviction so that they can take the initiative on their own volition to demolish the building as opposed to the city doing it for them,” said Vani.
Vani adds the city is in the process of securing the building and guarantees it will be brought down.
“It definitely will happen by the end of the year, whether it’s by our hand or the owner’s hand — the building will come down,” said Vani.
The city will pay for the demolition and bill the property owner.