A young woman, wearing a short T-shirt and tight cropped pants, pauses to check herself out in the glass door of an office on Simon Avenue.
She twirls a couple of times before removing her T-shirt to reveal a bikini top. A couple more checks in the glass door, and she proceeds through a hole in a fence into the abandoned Allwood Estates Mobile Home Park.
The area, known to be occupied by squatters, has become a growing concern following the second fire there this year, but a solution appears to be imminent.
Fire Chief Don Beer said Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service has been in talks with the property owners – the Onni Group – about removing the remaining buildings on the site.
City spokesperson Rhonda Livingstone confirmed that the city has received complaints about transient activity on the property and that Onni has applied for a demolition permit to remove the remaining 16 structures.
Livingstone said all the former tenants had vacated the property by Jan. 16 of this year, after the city approved a rezoning and development permit for a 224-unit townhouse complex. A building permit application for the first phase of the project is currently under review.
The main entrance to the park is located at the end of Allwood Street – north of South Fraser Way – and the site encompasses an area just west of the Real Canadian Superstore on Gladwin Road and just south of the Dahlstrom Centre mini mall on George Ferguson Way.
A “No Trespassing” sign is posted at the main entrance but is ignored by those who access the park through a broken fence behind businesses on Simon.
Large trees and fences conceal the site from public view, meaning that activity on the property goes largely unnoticed.
Const. Ian MacDonald said Abbotsford Police have been called to the site 10 times this year, for calls mainly related to trespassers, and also for metal thefts.
But the biggest concerns have arisen from two fires on the property. The first occurred in February and destroyed an abandoned trailer on the property. The second was on Sunday at about 10:30 p.m. The blaze destroyed another trailer on the site and was spreading quickly through the brush and trees due to the dry conditions.
Firefighters quickly attacked the flames and sprayed water on nearby businesses at Dahlstrom Centre to protect them. Damage was contained to the trailer park.
Beer said investigators were unable to determine the cause the fires.