A central Alberta man said he’s had to sell his home, after an effort by village officials to improve the look of his house left him with a hefty bill.

Bill Yarmovich lives in Ryley, Alberta – he lives alone, and is on pension.

“I’m limited to what I get,” Yarmovich said.

He told CTV News back in 2015, he was issued a bylaw notice for having ‘unsightly premises’, and he was told to paint his home to “keep Ryley clean and attractive”,

Yarmovich is a retired contractor, so the 86-year-old started to do the work himself.

“It did need a paint job, I’m not denying that,” Yarmovich said.

“I didn’t need them to tell me what to do, I’d been a contractor for 35 years.”

He said he completed about a third of it, and told village officials he was working on it.

However, the work hit some snags; he fell off his ladder while he was scraping the old paint and broke his ribs, he said the weather did not cooperate and it rained often.

All that, plus his age: “I’m 86-years-old, the motor gives out a little,” he said, and he missed the deadline set by the village.

As a result, his home was painted for him – and officials sent him a bill for the work, totaling $3,400.

After with interest and fees accumulated, the bill grew to more than $4,000.

“$4,000 does not grow on trees,” Yarmovich said.

CTV News tried to contact the village for comment, and have been told the village is waiting for legal counsel.

The village bylaw used in this case states: “No property owner shall allow any building…to become an unsightly premise.”

In the village, there are a number of other properties that look to be in a similar state to Yarmovich’s home before it was painted – including one with missing siding, that is reportedly owned by a village councillor, and residents say it has been in that state for years.

At least one resident who spoke with CTV News said the village took the wrong approach in this case.

“You can’t just go and do something to someone else’s house, that’s just not right,” Joan Kischook said.

For Yarmovich, he’s had to sell his home in order to pay the debt. He said he would like to get his money back, but right now he’s focused on leaving the village.

“I feel they owe me the money that they charged me,” Yarmovich said. “But I don’t care, I just want out.”

With files from Dan Grummett


UPDATE (21/02/17): The Village of Ryley released a statement on February 21, 2017. Read it in full here.