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Campbell River taking a crack at derelict buildings

The city will be cracking down on vacant buildings.

Council has approved changes to its public nuisance bylaw that will require owners to register their empty buildings with the city.

The idea came from resident Darlyne Shane who suggested council adopt a vacant building registry similar to the city of Penticton’s.

Shane was one of five people who spoke during a public hearing April 29, designed for council to gather feedback on the city’s public nuisance bylaw. The city’s Advisory Planning and Environment Commission considered Shane’s suggestion and recommended council require registration and permitting of vacant buildings.

“The commission reviewed the issue of adding regulations regarding vacant buildings to the public nuisance bylaw and felt that such regulations would be useful,” said Coun. Ryan Mennie, chair of the commission. “However, various commission members expressed the following concerns be taken into consideration – posting vacant buildings may attract vandals (and) the vacant building registry should not be posted on the city website.”

In addition to having an inventory of all vacant buildings, the bylaw will also require all openings on vacant buildings to be in good repair and locked or covered.

There will also be standards of maintenance for outdoor walls and roofs that will have to be met and the bylaw will likely dictate for routine building inspections. The commission suggested that in addition to those requirements, that businesses that leave buildings empty be required to take down their signs. That’s welcome news to Shane, who believes the time for a more aggressive approach to dealing with vacant buildings is now.

“Do not think that we become inured to the sight of these vacant buildings day after day, year after year,” Shane said during the April public hearing. “I can assure you that local residents and visitors do notice, on a daily basis.

“I realize that Campbell River does not yet have an overwhelming number of vacant buildings and, therefore, I believe now is the time to introduce the process in order to allow for fine-tuning regarding registration, standards and inspection.”

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