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Toronto dad says he’ll fight to keep $30k treehouse city wants taken down

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Apr 20th, 2016

A Toronto father who built his sons a $30,000 boat-shaped treehouse says he’ll do whatever it takes to fight a city order to tear down the structure his family adores.

John Alpeza spent years working on the naval-themed treehouse for his boys Kristian and Matheas, now 10 and 8.

Alpeza, a contractor, says he doesn’t normally work on residential projects and didn’t know he needed a permit for a treehouse.

He says was asked to provide building plans and a permit request to the city last fall after a neighbour complained.

But Alpeza says last Friday he received a voicemail message ordering him to take down the treehouse this week or the city would seek a court order to do it.

He says losing the play space would be “like putting a stake through our family’s heart.”

A spokesman for the city’s building department did not immediately respond to a request for comment but Toronto Mayor John Tory said on Twitter that he was aware of the situation.

“Looking into treehouse issue. Impressive play space & built with great intentions but safety & neighbourhood impacts have to be considered,” he wrote.


  • Troy Hoyt says:

    Julea, are you abusing some sort of prescription medication? Maybe you just skipped breakfast…

    Either way, your two nearly identical posts, thirty minutes apart, both are preaching the reckless gospel of ‘anti-responsibl-ism’.

    I realize that isn’t a real word, but it is most certainly a real thing. In these times, it seems that it has become acceptable in the eyes of society, to rally to the aid of anyone who has been ‘wronged’ by the Government, or a large corporation… Even if they are completely at fault.

    Such is the case with this treehouse issue. I’m no contractor, but even I know that if you are going to build a structure, the size of this massive treehouse on your property, you will require the proper permits. He is a contractor. He was well-aware of what was legally required, but consciously chose to break the law. Now, he and Julea are calling foul.

    Building permits are in place, not only to ensure Municipal Governments get every cent of property tax to which they feel they are entitled. Permits are in place, mainly to ensure the structural soundness of all structures. Without them, ruthless contractors would be free to cut as many corners as they wished, when constructing the houses in which we live, offices where we work, and the schools where our children learn.

    Anyone who has ever had dealings with a shady contractor, will certainly agree that they are the last people we should be blindly trusting with anything… let alone our safety.

    Next time you find yourself on the twentieth floor of a high-rise, I want you to ask yourself if you feel the same way toward that structure not needing permits, the way you do with this eyesore of a treehouse?

    Building permits have been around forever, so they hardly fall under the ‘Big Brother’ surveillance activity umbrella. One thing has absolutely nothing to do with the other, so please try and refrain from using buzz words, just for the sake of using them.

    What actually has to stop, is the public’s perception that every act that their Governments carry out is inherently evil. The same goes for corporations. Believe it, or not, it is possible that they are right, and it’s us who are wrong… and sometimes, they are even trying to look out for our well-being, and save us from killing ourselves beneath the ruins of a hack job structure, we were certain we knew how to build.

  • Julea says:

    I think the boat treehouse looks great. It matches other structures in the yard. The neighbour should mind their own business. The structure is fun for the kids and is not hurting anyone. Some people are not happy unless the are complaining about something. This big brother thing of controlling everything and everyone one has to stop. People can’t breathe anymore without someone objecting about something. Leave the treehouse where it is and let his kids enjoy it. A lot of time, money and thought went into it.

  • Julea says:

    I think he did a nice job building that treehouse. I matches other structures on his property. I think some neighbours just are not happy unless they are griping about something. It isn’t hurting them so they should mind their own business. It is his property and no one should be able to tell him what he can have in his back yard as long as it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s property. This big brother thing has to stop. It is getting out of hand.

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