Hilchey Road homeowners are asking city council to rescind an order to clear their property of discarded items that have piled up over the years.
In September, the city put Betty and Douglas Craig on notice that they had 30 days to clean up their property.
At the Nov. 21 council meeting, Ed White spoke on behalf of the Craigs and told council that the Craigs have gone to great lengths to clean up their property and, as requested by the city, have insured the motor home in their driveway.
“I went to Mr. and Mrs. Craig’s property on Nov. 18, 2016 to see what progress they had made and it looks a lot better than the last time I was there,” White said. “Mrs. Craig’s gone through her boxes and personal stuff and put them in new plastic totes and plastic bags. The driveway has been cleaned and tidied and all of the property along Hilchey Road has been cleaned.”
According to a remedial action report prepared by city Bylaw Officer Pat Patterson, the Craigs’ property was full of discarded items and prior to the September remedial action notice, the city sent a letter to the Craigs asking them to clean it up.
“On (May 4) a letter was sent to the property owners requiring accumulated discarded materials, including but not limited to, appliances, clothing, bedding, furniture, cans, containers, bottles, glass, paper or other items or rubbish, unlicensed or inoperable motor vehicles, debris and all other (items) in a dismantled or abandoned state to be removed from the property,” Patterson said.
Patterson noted that the property is known for its condition and has been a source of concern for neighbours over the years.
“This property has a long history of complaints and compliance issues resulting from continuous and on-going accumulation of materials,” Patterson said. “Island Health officials have been contacted, however, they explained that unless the individual requests assistance, there is no action that can be taken to address hoarding.”
White though, said, the property looks just fine now from the road.
“An eight-foot hedge around the property has been trimmed, it looks fine and you cannot see inside the property from the street,” White said. “I took pictures to show council there is no need to proceed with further action as they have complied with the request.”
White said there are still some personal items that the owners are sorting through but suggested that the city could revisit the property within six months to ensure it stays in compliance.
Council instead decided to refer the issue to the city’s legislative services department.
Mayor Andy Adams thanked White for presenting to council and providing an update.
He told White that city bylaw officers will revisit the property and confirm what White told council.
City staff will then report back to council at its next meeting, on Dec. 12, and at that time council will decide whether or not to take further action.
Under the remedial action notice that was issued to the Craigs, the city has the authority to enter onto the Hilchey property and clean up the site itself at the property owner’s expense if no action is taken by the homeowners.
Typically, the property owners are given 30 days after receiving a remedial action notice to bring the property into compliance.