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Eight Years Behind: Vehicle left for nearly ten years still not declared derelict by city of Winnipeg

Winnipeg, Manitoba — How long does a car have to sit for it to be considered abandoned? Three months? Six months? One year? Arguably, more than eight years is probably long enough.

The solution then is to remove the vehicle. Tow it away. Simple enough, right?

Well, the city of Winnipeg disagrees.

This odd situation is occurring in the River Heights neighbourhood of the prairie capital, as a run-down car left sitting in a grass-covered lot has been declared a “blight” by residents of the suburb.

“It’s got grass up to the windows, depending on the time of year, completely flat tires,” said Michael Gillespie. “It hasn’t moved in eight years, and I’m dumbfounded that nobody seems to give a damn.”

Gillespie represents a company that owns a house adjacent to the lot. The car in question, a red two-door Eagle Talon, has been an eyesore for Gillespie since April, when his company took over the property.

However, Google Earth searches show the car in the exact place all the way back in 2014. The license plate sticker itself is registered back to 2012.

Gillispie has reported the car twice to Winnipeg’s 311 service, but each time his report was closed with no solution or explanation provided.

The city has claimed that they are investigating whether the vehicle meets the definition of a derelict vehicle.

The city’s bylaw criteria is as follows:

  • The vehicle is not in operating condition and is rusted, wrecked or partly wrecked, or is dismantled or partly dismantled.
  • It is not insured and registered under the Highway Traffic Act and does not have a current, valid licence plate attached.
  • It is entirely or partially outside of a building.

The lot where the car itself resides has no address, but is a private property, potentially throwing wrenches into removal plans. Despite a lack of clear explanation, and the uncertain ownership of the vehicle, Gillespie wants the car removed.

“Maybe [they] … don’t have enough staff. Maybe nobody wants to talk on the phone to disgruntled citizens, but this seems to be a really simple thing. And it’s just disgusting,” says Gillespie.

In regards to the city’s inaction, the mind races with ideas of what else could be done for the situation. Most comments from the original article state frustration with Winnipeg Municipal law enforcement. One commenter states, “The problem is that he is dealing with the bureaucracy.”

Another reads, “The word ‘dithering’ comes to mind. C’mon Winnipeg, it’s not rocket science.”

So what’s the solution? Are people right to feel frustrated? Would you remove the vehicle yourself? Those in the towing industry, would you take on removing a car for a frustrated citizen?

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