Abandoned Roland Road property targeted
For some three decades, 850 Roland Road was a reclusive home to an “au naturel” lifestyle, namely a nudist resort. Today, nature has reclaimed the forested setting, that is, on occasion, literally going up in flames.
The Pelham Fire Department responded to a blaze on the property last Monday evening, which gutted a derelict structure. Fire Chief Bob Lymburner told the Voice it was the second such call to the rural address in the past year, and noted that Niagara Regional Police have been called to the address “a number of times, because of kids partying.”
The 25-acre site, known as Sun Valley Gardens from 1954 to 1982, was owned by the Ruehle family, headed by patriarch Karl Ruehle, who was something of a nudist resort pioneer in Ontario. (His name is still on the mailbox at the top of the driveway.) Today, it is a woodland strewn with rotting structures which suggest little of the sans-clothes sun-worshipper culture which inhabited the grounds in years gone by.
The acreage passed through various hands in the intervening years, and is currently owned by Abidin Akkok, who lives in Mississauga. He was alerted by his Fenwick neighbour that a fire was consuming one of the ramshackle buildings still standing on the property. Akkok made the trek to North Fenwick to meet with police and firefighters on site.
Lymburner was present to view the smoldering and charred remains of the building, and informed Akkok that another house on the site was both uninhabitable and unsalvageable.
“Trying to repair this is going to cost more than ripping it down and starting over—just look at the fuel load you have here,” referring to wood stacked and scattered around the structure.
“I’m telling you, kids are in here all the time. They’re going to light this up next,” warned Lymburner, who added, “If I have to come back here again, you’re going to get charged, and it’s going to cost big dollars.”
Source: The Voice
Original publication 12 May, 2021
Posted on NatCorn 20th May 2021
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