Pauline Jollymour's Chilliwack home has been called hazardous, filthy, disgusting and a pig sty.
And that was just by the mayor on Tuesday evening as city council gave reconsideration to a remedial action order for the elderly woman's Mayfair Avenue home.
"I need to be very frank with you, but your house is disgusting," Mayor Sharon Gaetz told Jollymour. "Your house is very filthy and it's not right to live in that home and it's not right to annoy your neighbours in such ways."
Jollymour, 90, did not disagree with Gaetz about the condition of the house, which is overgrown with grass and bushes and surrounded by piles of garbage and debris.
But the woman pleaded with council for more time to clean up the property as she has tried to do for years, stymied at every turn by her 56-year-old son who she says suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
"I have a problem, so I guess that's why I'm here," Jollymour said. "My place is a real mess and I don't like it and every time I try to do something about it he says it bothers him.. .. I love my son dearly and I don't want to hurt his feelings. .. but I can't do anything as long as he objects."
On July 16, council issued the remedial action for the home that is among the worst examples of hoarding new Chilliwack Fire Department chief Ian Josephson says he has ever seen.
Complaints have come from neighbours for years about the outside, but inside, among towers of trash, stacked boxes, used food containers, and endless mountains of unused paper products, things are even worse.
The stacks of garbage provide not only a home for rats, a fire hazard and a source of mould, they are so high they physically threaten the life of the woman and her son, according to those who have visited the house.
The Times took a tour of the home earlier this year alongside Chilliwack Fire Department (CFD) Capt. Don Van Beest who said he felt helpless to deal with the problem.
After the remedial action was ordered on July 16, Jollymour's son wrote to request a reconsideration hearing, as is allowed under the Community Charter.
That letter, dated July 29, said the son was writing on behalf of his mother. In it, he said he cannot understand how the property can be declared a public nuisance, dilapidated, or how it is a health and safety risk.
"The conditions of this house and property have remained so for quite a number of years and have never proven to be a threat to either us nor the public," the handwritten letter said.
The son said some of the complaints about mess were untrue, and he referred to complainants as "busybodies."
Council voted unanimously Tuesday to enforce the remedial action. Gaetz told Jollymour the remedial action may be a blessing in disguise as it forces the property to be cleaned up so that the woman's son cannot object.
The cost of cleanup will be added to the property owner's tax bill.
Couns. Ken Huttema and Stewart McLean expressed empathy to Jollymour, but argued that council's job was to take into consideration the entire neighbourhood. Coun. Jason Lum called it the hardest vote he had ever taken.
"This could be anybody's mother or grandmother so my message today is to Fraser Health and I hope that somebody watches tonight. .. and I hope somebody steps up tonight and helps this lady."
© Copyright 2013