After his request for help went unanswered at city hall this week, a Port Colborne teenager is turning to the community for assistance.
Kruze Ovenden, a 19-year-old student at Niagara College, lost his mother last year. She died after a prolonged struggle with drugs and mental health issues, including hoarding problems. Before Cheryl Hampson-Booth’s death in April 2019, the city enforced its property standards bylaws, removed materials from the property, and added the cost for clean-up to the property’s tax bill.
Following her death, the property fines and tax bill transferred to the sole beneficiary of the estate: her son, Ovenden.
Unable to pay the $35,000 levied against his home, Ovenden went to council to request relief from the fines since he was not involved in the situation that led to the fines, nor even aware the fines and unpaid taxes had existed. His request was unanimously rejected by city councillors on Monday.
Ovenden said he hopes to get a lawyer and argue the fines should be waived, but he needs money to get that ball rolling.
A GoFundMe campaign was launched Wednesday to collect funds for him to use in his legal defence.
The online campaign page can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/mother039s-fines-given-to-son-by-port-colborne