Unsightly property in Fauquier a ‘hoarding type situation’

The Regional District of Central Kootenay has agreed to give a one-month clean-up notice to the owner of yet another unsightly property, but it’s likely remedial action will need to be taken.

Joseph Sheremeto has amassed dozens of vehicles, mechanical parts, metal, and garbage on his property in Fauquier. Even after multiple visits and bylaw notices, there’s no sign that he’ll be cleaning it up anytime soon.

“This is a problem that has been persisting for years and years,” said Jordan Dupuis, supervisor of Bylaw Enforcement. “It’s our opinion that Mr. Sheremeto is not likely able to bring his property into compliance.”

Sheremeto has lived on the property since the ’70s.

In August, Bylaw Enforcement Officer Charmaine Daoust visited the property and spoke at length with Sheremeto, to gain an understanding of his non-compliance and to check what support systems he had to help him clean up. By the end of September however, the situation had not changed.

“During one of my last attendances, there was a wood stove suspended from a chain, hanging from a tree,” said Dupuis. “I think that was because there was really no place else to put it.”

The RDCK recently gave one-month clean-up notices to two other property owners, Lily Jia, also in Fauquier, and Carl and Erin Tessier in Salmo. The notices were a wake-up call for the owners of both properties, and some clean-up efforts have been made.

Receiving a notice may spur Sheremeto to clean up his property too, but the RDCK is not feeling hopeful.

“It’s a hoarding type situation,” said Dupuis.

Director Cheryl Graham expressed concern that even if the property gets cleaned up, Sheremeto might start accumulating again.

“The bylaw speaks to the condition of the property, not the individual owner,” said Director Garry Jackman.

“If we receive a complaint [in the future], because we’re complaint-driven, we will go back in and start the process anew,” explained Dupuis.

If Sheremeto does not make a concerted effort to clean up his property within 30 days, the RDCK will authorize bylaw staff to take remedial action. The RDCK pays up front, then Sheremeto will have until December 31 of this year to pay the clean-up bill. If he doesn’t, the costs will be paid back via tax in arrears.

In past cases, it has taken up to three years to get the funds back. Sheremeto’s case is much bigger, and it could take longer.

Rachael Lesosky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice