NEWS

Winnipeg boy and dad go to city hall to fight for the right to build treehouse

01/05/2012 11:43 EST | Updated 03/06/2012 05:12 EST
WINNIPEG - An eight-year-old Winnipeg boy has been given permission for the treehouse of his dreams — and a lesson in democracy, to boot.

Young Harley Freis has been bugging his dad, Jules, for a treehouse in the family's back yard since before Christmas.

Jules Freis, a former contractor, came up with a design that he figured would meet Harley's special needs — he was born premature and has core muscle developmental issues.

But the structure would need to be two feet over code, so Jules went to the city to get a variance — which was denied.

On Thursday, the family headed to city hall for an appeal hearing.

After Jules explained he had designed the structure to have safety features to prevent children from falling, permission was finally granted.

Jules said he was somewhat surprised at the hoops he had to go through to get a simple treehouse approved.

"I never imaged it would (take that)," he said. "I'm not familiar with the process very much, so I wasn't sure if it was going to be easy or difficult."

He took Harley along with him Thursday to provide the youngster with an education in civic politics.

"We wanted to show him the situation, when he's been asking the last few months, 'why aren't you building my treehouse?' " explained Jules, adding his son was pleased with the result.

"He was quite happy. He jumped around quite a bit. Now he's pressuring me to start building."

It might have been a hassle, but Jules — who now works in real estate — said it was worth it.

"I totally support building codes, as an ex-contractor," he explained. "Otherwise everybody would be building whatever they could get away with."

MORE:cpNews