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North Vancouver dad fighting city hall to save pandemic-built tree fort

Click to play video 'North Vancouver father fights city hall over tree fort' North Vancouver father fights city hall over tree fort
North Vancouver father fights city hall over tree fort

A North Vancouver father is fighting city hall over a tree fort he built his kids during the pandemic.

Adam Rennie started putting the structure up in his front yard in April, when the province was under COVID-19 lockdown.

“All of the parks were closed down right at the beginning of the pandemic, so we wanted to build something for the kids,” he said.

With public access closed to most District of North Vancouver municipal facilities, he said he was unable to apply for permits for the fort.

Read more: North Vancouver to allow public drinking under COVID-19, but not Vancouver

So he did some research on safe design, and went ahead with the project with the help of his seven- and nine-year-old children.

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“We asked all of our neighbours, and we thought we would be able to build this and everyone would be really happy with it,” he said.

Several months and several thousand dollars later, Rennie said he got a stop-work order from the district.

Click to play video 'Boat-shaped treehouse in Toronto ordered to be taken down' Boat-shaped treehouse in Toronto ordered to be taken down
Boat-shaped treehouse in Toronto ordered to be taken down

It turns out not everyone was happy with the new fort. According to Rennie, the order came after complaints to the district from “one or two” neighbours.

“The kids are heartbroken, we’re very frustrated by it, very saddened that this is where we’ve gotten to,” he said, adding that an online petition to save the fort had gathered signatures from several hundred neighbours.

“I just don’t understand why one or two people can dictate whether something like this … should have precedence over everybody else.”

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Rennie said he’s now left with the choice of tearing the fort down, or spending what he said were several thousand more dollars proceeding to the municipality’s board of variance, which deals with permit conflicts.

Read more: Ottawa father hopes to keep tree fort standing after kids get tear-down notice

In a statement, the district said that it had approached Rennie to offer him options before issuing the order.

“The district asked the homeowner to discuss options for a Development Variance Permit or Board of Variance with a residential plans reviewer to keep the treehouse structure in the front yard, apply for the necessary permits to relocate the structure to the rear yard, or remove the structure entirely,” reads the statement.

“Despite this, work on the structure continued.”

Rennie said the kids have written the mayor over the fort, and that he’s still deciding how he’ll proceed.

But he said he’s still frustrated over the way the issue was handled.

“I would just ask that they please have a reasonable approach to this.”