The owner of a business in Marystown is fighting to keep his storage shed from being torn down.
Mike Mallay, who runs a Robin's Donuts and a pizza shop in the town, arrived for work on Monday to find an excavator ready to tear down the building on his property.
The town had told him that he built the shed about a metre too close to the property line.
Mallay acknowledges the mistake, but says tearing down the structure is an extreme response by the town.
"I got a call from the town manager ... saying there was an excavator on site, getting ready to tear down our building," he said.
"It was a courtesy call, she said, to remove any contents from the building, and the building was being demolished."
Mallay said he was in a hurry to open his business before Christmas last year and failed to research the property line regulations.
Hoping for a break
The shed, which is insulated and has electricity, is used for storing various things related to Mallay's businesses.
He says after he had the concrete poured for the base of the shed, it was too late to reverse the work. The building is now too heavy to move the required 16 inches.
While he is forthcoming about the error, he still thinks the town is being unreasonable by making him tear it down.
"Hindsight is 20-20," he said.
"We did make a mistake but we don't think the barbaric measures of the town to tear down, to rip down a building is forthcoming as well."
"We're just hoping for a little bit of a break there."
Mallay noted a member of the town council owns the neighbouring property, but he's stopping short of saying that's linked to the dispute.
"I don't want to make any assumptions, but I'll leave it to the public to make assumptions," he said.
He said he isn't happy with how the town has handled the situation, and feels that he wasn't given an opportunity to explain his side of the story.
"What I figured is, this would end up in court, and I would get a chance to explain my side," he said.
Mallay said the mistake he made was an honest one, and if he had his time back he would have done things differently.
"I have land. I could have built this shed 30 inches ahead," he said.
Mallay has been dealing with the town council on the issue since the summer. He was hoping for a variance on the 16 inches, since the property on the other side includes an abandoned building. However, he didn't think the town could tear down his shed.
Mallay says he's never heard of any other buildings getting torn down over a property line dispute.
"It's just heartbreaking, as a local person in Marystown that has a new business and has worked so hard to get ahead," he said.
"To see council take those types of measures to basically almost put us out of business, or to put us through this kind of hardship."
Mallay is seeking a court injunction, which he hopes will keep that excavator away from his property long enough to work out an arrangement with the town.
In the meantime, he is considering cutting 30 inches off the shed to comply with regulations.
"That's what it's going to come down to," he said.
No one from the town council was available to comment.