This article has been updated from an original version.
A for-sale sign will appear on June 1 on the lawn of 167 Third St., after years of the courts working to untangle how to address the property formerly owned by Collingwood resident Gloria Culbert.
When Culbert died in June of 2019, she left her Third St. residence to three beneficiaries: the Town of Collingwood, Home Horizon and Habitat for Humanity South Georgian Bay.
Prior to and over the past few years while the matter has made its way through the court system, the property has continued to deteriorate physically, with the OPP being called regularly for various disturbances and violence at the residence.
Lawyer Clarke Melville was appointed by the court on April 3 as estate trustee to control and manage the property and estate. Melville’s role is to act on orders issued by the court, which include selling the house.
“My understanding is, prior to my appointment, there’s been quite a lot of police and first-responder attendances at the house,” Melville told CollingwoodToday. “It’s a microcosm of issues with economically disadvantaged persons, that exist throughout the province. What people in the town of Collingwood are experiencing with this very small property is not different from what’s happening in Toronto, or Kitchener or Ottawa.”
“Collingwood is not immune from the difficult issue of what to do with persons who are economically disadvantaged or may have other mental health or functioning issues,” said Melville.
The circumstances surrounding the home came to light in 2020, when the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was called in to investigate the death of Matthew Rice, 29, on Sept. 9, 2020 outside the Third Street residence. He was shot by police after a confrontation outside the home after he pointed the shotgun at police. He was shot eight times. Police deemed he was a risk to the public nearby in the residential neighbourhood.
Melville confirmed this week there are currently tenants living in the house, and that those tenants have rights under the Residential Tenancies Act. Where those tenants will land after the sale of the home is still up in the air.
“What will happen will depend on what the purchaser wants to do. If a purchaser wanted to move into the house, that’s one avenue. If a purchaser wanted to demolish the house, that’s another avenue. If the purchaser wants to carry on with a tenant-run property, that’s another avenue,” said Melville. “I can’t say what will happen, because I don’t know what our purchaser will want to do.”
Melville says that once he has the proceeds from the sale in-hand, he will make an application to the court to seek direction on how to deal with the proceeds.
“I’ve been asked by the court to sort out this interesting situation. It will take time. I know everyone wants this done tomorrow, but that’s not the way it works,” he said. “I understand there has been strong interest in the property. It’s a very nice neighbourhood and location.”
Realtor Chris McCormick confirmed the property is slated to go up for sale officially on June 1, but declined to provide the listing price on Monday.
“There are a lot of moving parts,” McCormick told CollingwoodToday. “There will be no showings and no trespassing.”
“It’s a hard situation there,” she said.