The future of a popular Halloween attraction in southern Alberta remains unclear
The owner’s of Stirling’s Haunted Mansion and Railroad Park, Richard and Glory Reimer, recently received notice they have until February 1st to shut down some of their operations because a few activities on the property break village bylaws.
Development Officer with the Village of Stirling, Mike Selk tells Global News they’ve been working with the Reimer’s for two years to help them come in compliance with bylaws.
“We went down a path looked at a lot of different options and after exhausting all those different options, here we are today,” he adds.
Richard says at the end of the day they’re being forced to deal with a lot of paper work and technicalities when really the problem comes down to a few disgruntled neighbors.
“They’re trying to say these are all separate businesses but they are not,” he explains referencing the mansion, petting zoo, maze and mini railroad on property.
“We charge one admission to go to all of it. It’s no different than a store having to have separate licenses to sell bananas and milk,” he adds.
Many neighbors voiced their complaints about the Reimer’s property back in October of 2012 at a public hearing in Stirling.
Residents who lived in close vicinity said the park draws a crowd, can be noisy and creates parking problems.
Those in support said they enjoyed the mansion’s presence in town because it was fun and put Stirling on the map.
Isabel Robertson currently lives across the street from the Reimers.
She says the ongoing debate has created a lot of drama among the community.
“Seems to be a lot of tension and opinion and a lot of people are talking. I’m glad that we’re not going to be living here permanently. I mean it hasn’t really been a big problem for us, but we’re temporary,” she explains.
The Reimer’s continue to argue the mansion is a positive thing for the whole community and after 14 years in operation they’re prepared to go down swinging.
“I just think this whole thing is a paper nightmare. I do feel that the bulk of this village wants us to stay and we will beat this, soon enough,” Richard says.
The Reimer’s have been invited to take part in the next planning commission meeting on February 5th.