VAUDREUIL-DORION – A battle is brewing between a retired engineer and Vaudreuil-Dorion because the city is seeking a court injunction to demolish a home built in 1962.
The local mayor said it’s a question of safety, but the senior, who built it, argued he is determined to stand his ground.
“I live in my place, I don’t bother anybody, I don’t make noise,” said Peder Mortensen, who immigrated to Canada from Denmark in 1959.
The 81-year-old structural engineer said, along with working on Expo 67, building his home in the woods from scratch is one of his proudest achievements.
He spends the winter in one heated room in the basement and prides himself on spending very little on electricity.
“I only spend $800 a year on heating,” Mortensen said.
“People could learn something from me.”
Mortensen’s home could be considered an eyesore by some.
It’s surrounded by makeshift shelters and bags of leaves hanging from the trees, which he’s convinced keeps it quiet.
But the Vaudreuil resident never imagined that one day, the city he adopted would force him to demolish his home.
However, the mayor insists he has no choice but to order Mortensen out.
The city is hoping to get a court injunction to demolish the home on the basis that it’s a fire hazard.
“Mr. Mortensen has to demolish that and build something that conforms to the town regulations,” Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon said.
The mayor insists it’s a question of safety for the senior citizen.
“We’re working with the CSSS to make sure Mr. Mortensen will be taken in charge and we’ll find some place for him,” said Pilon.
Yet,the 81-year-old insists he has no intention of leaving his land anytime soon – and going to an old-age home with other senior citizens is out of the question.
“No, that’s like a concentration camp,” Mortensen said.
Mortensen said he believes the attempt to push him off his land and out of his home amounts to elder abuse.
“It’s completely illegal what they’re doing,” he said.
The city argued it’s ready to make accommodations, such as allowing Mortensen to live in a trailer temporarily, if he agrees to tear down his home and have it rebuilt.
Mortensen insists he can’t afford to do that with his limited old age pension.