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'This is an eyesore': City charting plan to clean giant debris left for two years on Sherbrook Street

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The City of Winnipeg is finally moving ahead with a plan to clear away a large pile of debris on a private lot.

The mess of Sherbrook Street is leftover from an apartment fire more than two years ago.

Residents in the area say it’s a danger, as it is full of asbestos, and has attracted rodents – with some making their way into people's homes.

"This is an eyesore. There's cats and wildlife starting to move in," said Cory Gauthier, a neighbour to the pile of rubble.

But now there is a plan to clean up the problem.

"It really is a pile of rubble that's creating lots of adverse affects. Rats, people are adding to the pile, illegal dumping," said Coun. Cindy Gilroy.

The city is mulling over bids from contractors to clean up the site. A wet demolition will be done, a process to safely deal with the asbestos. Following that, a remediation of the lot.

"It's long overdue. We really need to get that area cleaned up. It's been many years now and the community has really put up with it enough," said Gilroy.

Once the cleanup is done, the city said it will charge the property owner the costs of the work, by adding the price to their property tax account.

While that sounds like a good solution, there could be a financial downside. A city report last year said costs for these types of cleanups could be worth more than the property, so even if the city took ownership for failure to pay taxes, taxpayers could be on the hook for the difference.

"They got to do, what they got to do. As long as it gets cleaned up," said Gauthier.

The city said by the end of demolition, the lot will be backfilled and graded level. As for the costs and timeline, the city said that will be flushed out through the bid evaluation process.

Gilroy said she expects work to start in June.

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