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Businessman says he is suing Municipality of Yarmouth


Property owner to be saddled with cost of municipal cleanup, he says

YARMOUTH, N.S.  - A Yarmouth County businessman is steaming mad at the Municipality of Yarmouth and plans on taking them to court over a civil matter.

At issue is the amount of salvage material on the 12-acre Main Shore/Rodney Road property that is in his wife’s name, Pamela Churchill.

Huge heaps of scrap lumber, metal lamp posts, derelict vehicles and tons of other materials holds value to Stan Churchill, who has collected them for more than a decade, but his neighbours want it all gone.

Heaps of scrap lumber, metal lamp posts, derelict vehicles and tons of other materials hold value to Stan Churchill.
Heaps of scrap lumber, metal lamp posts, derelict vehicles and tons of other materials hold value to Stan Churchill.

The municipality has been receiving complaints about the state of the property, which is zoned as residential, since 2005.

Churchill, who operates All-Out Property Services, says the land serves as a storage area for his snow clearing equipment, building supplies, two trailers that are stuffed with items, firewood, metal, and bags of soil that he has piled on pallets for his landscaping business, along with much more.

“They’re telling me I’m not supposed to have anything stored here,” said Churchill, who says he has been in business for 30 years.

“They’re saying the property is unsightly and dangerous.”

The municipal barrister sent the Churchills’ lawyer a letter on June 28 with deadlines (July 31, Aug. 31 and Sept. 30) for cleanup of specific areas on the property. If the Churchills defaulted on any of the dates the municipality would clean up the entire property.

A dilapidated shed is stuffed full of material that Churchill hasn’t had time to sort yet.
A dilapidated shed is stuffed full of material that Churchill hasn’t had time to sort yet.

This spring Churchill spent close to $10,000 to have a road constructed to the rear of the property so he could move things away from the road. He also had some large earth berms constructed and a gravel bed so he could sort items that had accumulated over the years, he says.

He has an explanation for every pile on the property.

“These cement blocks? I’ve got to sort them. I don’t want someone coming in with an excavator and smashing everything to pieces,” he said.

He points to a lineup of derelict vehicles.

“These are the vehicles they’re all having a fit about. I told them I would move them when I was done taking parts out of them.”

“People might say it’s junk, but there’s a lot of value here.”

Churchill says that All-Out Property Services has seven to 14 employees, depending on the season. It also has a mechanic’s shop on Pleasant Street and a place behind the Giant Tiger store for storage.

The morning of Sept. 10, the municipal bylaw officer arrived to begin the cleanup. One of Churchill’s trucks was parked across the entrance – because of a broken hydraulic line, says Churchill. Three RCMP officers were prepared to arrest him for obstruction, however they gave him until the following morning to move the truck.

“I either let them in or I’ll be arrested. I don’t want a criminal charge,” Churchill said that day.

The municipal bylaw officer and his workers arrived shortly after dawn on Sept. 11 and were able to access the site. The cleanup was estimated to take a week. Churchill was able to remove some items before the municipal cleanup began.

He says the fee for cleaning up the site will be attached to his property.

Vehicles stored on the property for parts.
Vehicles stored on the property for parts.

“If it costs $30,000-$40,000 to clean it up they’re going to put that as a lien on my property so when it’s ever sold, it has to be paid in order for me to sell the property,” he said.

The municipality declined comment on the matter and several neighbours who were contacted also opted not to comment.

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