A Toronto father says he will fight a city order to wreck his $30,000 treehouse boat, after neighbours complained that the playhouse for his kids was violating their privacy.
The City of Toronto has instructed John Alpeza to dismantle the elaborate treehouse in the backyard of his west-end home, or face charges under the city's bylaws. Alpeza was asked five months ago to submit a building application for the structure, which he built without knowing he needed a permit.
On Friday, the city called to inform him three departments had rejected his application.
"If the structure hasn't been removed by the end of next week, I will be charging you," a city official said in a voicemail message.
Alpeza says he's been denied "due process" to argue for keeping his treehouse boat.
"This project has been built out of love for my kids," he told CTV Toronto. "My main goal is to get them away from the TVs and Internet and video games, and for them to socialize with their friends."
The treehouse boat is better-equipped than the average playhouse or garden shed. It has four different entrances, retractable windows, swing ropes, a hammock, an eating area and, most importantly, a ship captain's wheel.
It also towers over neighbours' fences, allowing anyone onboard the "ship" to look into nearby backyards with ease.
"I built this three years ago," Alpeza said. "The roof was on and so were the walls. Nobody complained for a whole year. Only after I changed the walls and the roof from pressure-treated to cedar and made it a lot nicer, a lot more expensive – that's when the complaint was filed."
Alpeza runs a contracting company in Mississauga, and has taken on construction projects for the City of Toronto in the past.
The treehouse was built for Alpeza's sons, now 10 and 8. One of the boys told CTV Toronto that the playhouse is great for parties in the summer. "My dad put a lot of work into it," he said.
On Wednesday, Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted about the structure.
"Impressive play space and built with great intentions but safety and neighbourhood impacts have to be considered," Tory tweeted.
Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, April 20, 2016 11:31AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 20, 2016 1:18PM EDT