After ignoring letters from the city to clean up their properties, three property owners were given notice that if they do not fix up their property within the month they will be billed.
At a council meeting Oct. 2, council voted to issue notices to the following properties: 351 7th Avenue, 666 8th Avenue, and vacant lots at 734, 736, 738, 742, and 744 Oribi Drive.
All the owners were given notice during the summer that their properties needed to be cleaned up within a specified amount of time, but those requests have gone ignored.
So the city used the last tool it has – remedial action.
“The remedial action process is used by local governments across B.C. as a way to gain
compliance when property owners have not responded to requests to clean up their properties,” said Karl Read, the city’s bylaw enforcement officer. “The notice must give the owner a minimum of 30 days to comply. If the owner does not comply with the notice, the city…has the ability to have the work done, and recover the cleanup costs from the property owner. Unpaid cleanup costs are added to the owner’s property tax account.”
Read said the owner of the house on 7th Avenue was sent a letter on June 22 asking that the overgrown vegetation on the property be cleared and removed. Read said the owner was given 30 days from the date of the letter to comply with the request and although some of the vegetation was trimmed in the driveway, the rest of the property remains overgrown.
The owner of the home on 8th Avenue was issued a letter on June 20 requesting that the household appliances, containers, bags of rubbish and other accumulated items be removed from the property within 14 days, but the items still remain.
The vacant lots on Oribi, all of the same owner, have overgrown vegetation on the properties and on the boulevard that need to be cut and removed. The city sent the owner a letter on July 5 requesting the overgrown vegetation be cut back within 21 days, but with no response.
At last week’s council meeting, just as council was preparing to vote on remedial action, a member of the gallery stepped forward, sat down at the delegation table and asked if he could address council.
Council obliged and Eric Becherer introduced himself as the owner of 666 8th Avenue. He explained he had been working out of town and had just recently become aware of the city’s clean up request.
“Time has gotten away from me, I broke an ankle and I just got back into town the other day,” Becherer said. “I would rather not pay to have the city clean it for me.”
Council explained that Becherer – and the other property owners – would have 30 days from the date the remedial action was issued.
Read said he expects the property owners will respond.
“Information from other municipalities indicate that most owners will choose to do the work themselves when faced with the option of being charged to clean up their property.”