An Alberta man is speaking out for the first time since having his brand new house demolished last week.
“I came back and my place is gone,” William Reneau said. “I was just in total shock.”
The village of Carmangay, Alta. tore down the house in just hours Thursday morning.
“All my stuff that I own was inside that house – my clothes, my bed, my dresser, everything,” Reneau said.
“It was all gone.”
The village says Reneau built the house without the correct permits and so it was court ordered to be demolished.
The mayor of Carmangay, Kym Nichols, told Global News a development permit was taken out – as was a building permit – but the building permit was for a garage, not a house.
Reneau, however, maintains the building was a garage.
“It was a garage, just temporarily (to be used) for a house,” he said.
“I put a bathroom in there – there’s no law against putting a bathroom in your garage.”
The village says it issued several stop-work orders, one of which alleges Reneau illegally connected to the village’s sewer line.
“They weren’t dated or signed or anything and I showed them to a lawyer that helped me buy the property,” Reneau claimed.
“He said, ‘That’s not a legal document.’ So I said, ‘OK, I can still build.'”
Global News obtained copies of the orders. Both show a date and signature.
The village also provided a copy of the court order, authorizing the demolition if Reneau didn’t comply by Nov. 30, 2016.
Tim Thompson has lived in Carmangay for 10 years and tells Global News he’s never seen anything like this.
“People just do what they’re told to do here,” Thompson said.
Reneau says he doesn’t have the money to consider a rebuild so the future of the lot – now vacant – remains unknown.
Carmangay is about a 45-minute drive northwest of Lethbridge and about an hour and 45 minutes southeast of Calgary.