Opinion: This Burnaby zombie house looks like a prison

Chris Campbell

The call went out to Burnaby NOW readers recently as I followed up the City of Burnaby’s attempts to crack down on what I termed a “zombie house” that has been left to rot and die by its owner.

I asked readers to send me photos or details about homes that appear to be abandoned by absentee landlords in Burnaby.

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Well, people have responded and I’ve picked out one zombie house that seems particularly egregious. I understand some people are uncomfortable with this. They view it as “shaming” an owner, but I think that some cases are worth writing about. Many of these homes are safety hazards and a blight on their neighbourhoods.

zombie house burnaby
The fencing on this zombie home on Delta Avenue has been up for about five years in Burnaby. The house has numerous broken windows. Contributed photo

You look on a Burnaby street full of well-kept homes and then you come across one that is falling apart and overgrown – not because the owner is unable to take care of it, but because they are not bothering to take care of it for whatever reason. Perhaps it’s a rental and they don’t want to spend a nickel on it. Or maybe it’s just an investment property waiting to be sold to build a new house on the land.

Whatever the reason, it’s bad for any neighbourhood.

The property I chose is on Delta Avenue and it looks like a prison due to the fencing that surrounds it.

According to resident of this area, the home in question has had the fencing up for about five long years. Someone bought it about 10 years ago, cut down some trees and then let it sit.

Through the broken windows, one can see ripped-down interior walls,” wrote the resident. Over five years ago, I wrote to the city about the unsightly property and the construction fence went up and that was it. We think we have seen evidence of occasional squatters.”

Attracting squatters is another danger of these abandoned homes because some light fires inside when it gets cold.

I wish there was more the city could do, but it seems powerless to stop this.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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