Skip to content

Letter to the Editor: Regarding Derelict Property – 1511 Hastings St. Moose Jaw

A letter to the editor from Carter Currie
Letter to the Editor MJT1
Letter to the Editor

When Fire Chief Montgomery was a bylaw officer, I asked him a question in September 2018 that actually required him to do a little work to protect citizens’ health and safety.
An Act respecting Fire Safety, Fire Prevention and Emergency Response Services and making consequential amendments to other Acts.
(2) the fire inspector shall:
(a) make reasonable attempts to notify the owner or occupant of the purpose of the entry, 
(3) For the purposes of making an inspection pursuant to this section, a fire inspector shall not enter a private dwelling without a warrant issued pursuant to section 32 unless the owner or occupant consents to the entry.
I told him I made two attempts to his department to get a fire inspection (July 2018), twice I was told they “couldn’t go on the property.” I am reminding him of what he said, being “I don’t know what my department was saying.” (My notes September 2018)

Mr. Montgomery seemed to get angry (that I used the word ‘negligent’ in my complaint. I then apologized to him; then we started talking about the house in question.  About this time, he shook the key in my face. (Taken from my notes of our conversation in 2018)

It didn’t seem to dawn on him while we spoke concerning my two calls to his department for a fire inspection that I was told, “…can’t go on the property.” But it seems he got permission from the owner. 

Yet he and the previous city manager Jim Puffalt sent me to a lawyer in Saskatoon, why? 

It seemed that writing my letter to the editor was a serious concern for city officials because they devoted a portion of a council meeting to it:   

Response to Ongoing Letters to the Editor


City Solicitor’s Office

Department of Legislative and Enforcement Services

September 21, 2022

“Further, City Council and City Administration have spent innumerable hours over the past few years trying to find a resolution for this individual.” (New city solicitor September 21, 2022)

I asked Mr. Svensen about the resolutions; I got silence.

Then I read a story in the online edition on October 3, 2023, of a tragic situation of fire safety violations and Moose Jaws citizens. The story said the “police department” was there over “100 times” establishing a support structure with these citizens. I’d be surprised if the police service didn’t call Mr. Montgomery about the conditions in the building?

It seems to me there is a problem, as these citizens were facing distress, just like my wife who is also terrified of a fire next door.

There was a fire inspection done (on the house next door to ours) out of the provincial office. One statement stood out, by the inspector, “…if a fire were to start, we would lose our house.” 

The (building referred to in the article of Oct 2023) had their last inspection done by the fire department “in June.” Montgomery said there were non-compliance issues at the time, but the fire department was working with the owner and felt those issues were being addressed. 

If working with the building owner didn’t produce results concerning the health and safety of these citizens, where was the Fire Chief from June to October?              
Let me repeat, Chief Montgomery said he was “working with the building owner” so where was he from June to October for a building to end up being in non-compliance. However, Montgomery said “changes happened.” 

Does a citizen need to lose their home before he does his job?

To me, this doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in this kind of leadership.  How many other buildings/houses in Moose Jaw should citizens need to be concerned about in possibly losing their home to fire because only after “changes happened,” he reacted. 

I understand that he and Puffalt didn’t write a “report for council” about their involvement with the property next to mine on Hastings St. Why?

For years, the City took minimal steps to deal with derelict properties and the issues added up. Since the City has focused on dealing with derelict properties over the past two (2) years, the City has demolished approximately thirty (30) derelict buildings, which is a significant achievement. (New city solicitor Andrew Svensen September 21, 2022)

Moose Jaw’s focus on addressing “derelict houses” in the city arose from complaints from a resident of Moose Jaw regarding the “state of a neighbouring property.” (New city solicitor Andrew Svensen September 21, 2022)

I wonder why the Fire Chief or ex city manager Puffalt didn’t bring changes to the bylaws if that was the issue?  Isn’t that part of their job that they get paid for to protect citizen’s health and safety, or do, we need to also lose our house to fire for them to react?
Take care,
Carter Currie

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks