By Tijana Martin
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Stop Order: issued by Village against owners
The Stirling Haunted Mansion and Railway Park was handed a stop order on January 26, stating owners Richard and Glory Reimer have 30 days to stop the development or use of the land. In a statement released by the Village of Stirling, Mayor Ben Nilsson said it “pertains to a long-standing issue associated with non-residential uses on the property.”
The couple launched a petition to dispute the stop order and as of press time Wednesday had gathered over 1,500 signatures online, of their 2,000 goal. Richard Reimer said that their business was “always open pretty much all year around for various events,” but a couple of years ago they started to advertise it as such.
“I think that’s opened up a can of worms,” he added.
In the statement it says that the Development Authority determined that “the operations on the lands are outside the bounds of the Land Use Bylaw within the Residential land use district and the operations have continued to expand.”
The Reimer’s said the dispute with the village began around two years ago when a village administrator came to them and said they needed to get in compliance and that they were not properly licensed. This was news to Reimer – he said that they did in fact lack of adequate record keeping. Chief administrative officer Mike Selk disagrees.
“They don’t have a permit to run those operations.” Selk said in 2012 the village council received a complaint from a neighbour, which sparked “the process to get the business permitted under the Land Use Bylaw.”
The Haunted Mansion has been in business for 15 years, and Reimer said he feels as though the rules of grandfathering should apply.
“It’s called Estoppel by Laches, which means if something was operated out in the open, and known to be operating and it was allowed to continue on for a period of time, it would be grandfathered,” he said.
He contends the mansion is a tourist attraction and is a valuable asset to their community and southern Alberta.
Reimer states that even the village administration used to promote their business on their brochures and website as a tourist attraction.
“We’re loved by everybody that comes here,” he added.To access the petition visit http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keep-the-stirling-haunted-mansion-open/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=button