Pointe-Claire, Que. treehouse generates controversy as city claims structure is on public land

Click to play video: 'City of Pointe-Claire, Que., orders treehouse torn down' City of Pointe-Claire, Que., orders treehouse torn down
WATCH: A treehouse in Pointe-Claire, Que., is sparking controversy. The retired homeowner who built the structure says he wanted to give back to the community. But as Tim Sargeant reports, now the city says it has to be dismantled – Jan 13, 2022

Pointe-Claire, Que., resident Peter Ducree is enjoying the fruits of his labour with the treehouse he built behind his home.

The treehouse is used by kids in the neighbourhood, but the structure has become a lightning rod of controversy.

The City of Pointe-Claire has ordered Ducree to dismantle the treehouse because officials claim it was built in a tree on public property.

It’s a claim Ducree disputes, saying he’s upset that city officials are ordering the treehouse be dismantled.

“I’m frustrated. I guess the kids are devastated too,” Ducree told Global News.

Read more: Real estate project fuels debate about densification in Pointe-Claire

Ducree built the treehouse last year and claims only a portion is on public property — and that is because the tree roots expanded over the years, encroaching on city land.

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He asks, if there was a legal issue, why inspectors didn’t inform him last summer while he was building the treehouse.

“They were going by in the summer at least three times and why did they wait until it’s completed and that and give you two weeks to take it down in the dead of winter?” he asks.

The Mayor of Pointe-Claire insists it’s a homeowner’s responsibility to verify with the city if a treehouse to be built is on private or public property.

“You don’t need a permit to build a treehouse. However, if you’re going to build a treehouse, you may want to make sure you’re building on your own land,” Pointe-Claire Mayor Tim Thomas told Global News.

Thomas insists he has no interest in ruining a perfectly good treehouse. He says it just needs to be dismantled and moved.

Read more: Petition to save Fairview forest in Pointe-Claire asks city to intervene

“Our interest is not to forbid children from having fun or destroy the treehouse. Maybe the best solution would be for the treehouse to be relocated somewhere on property of someone who is willing to put it on their property,” the mayor said.

Ducree is willing to sign a legal waiver with the city and assume all liability if someone were to become injured while playing in the treehouse.

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He prefers that option to removing it and rebuilding it somewhere else.

“If I’m forced to do it, I would do it. But you don’t want to, there was a lot of work put into this,” he said.

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