City hopes new bylaw deters homeowners from neglecting properties

By Chad Klassen
October 27, 2017 - 2:10pm Updated: October 27, 2017 - 5:26pm

KAMLOOPS — As police continue to look for suspects in the Nelson Avenue shooting on Monday, the city is working on what it calls the "Good Neighbour" bylaw, hoping it deters homeowners from neglecting their properties and the tenants who live there.

"The purpose of this bylaw will be to give the City of Kamloops some leverage and tools to work with property owners to make sure their properties are managed and maintained in a way that will allow the neighbourhood to enjoy the peace, the quiet," said Director of Corporate Services and Community Safety David Duckworth. 

The city has been crafting the bylaw for three years now and will talk about it in a special workshop on Tuesday at City Hall. 

The bylaw, which the city hopes to roll out at the end of November, would give the city authority to label homes as a  "nuisance property" if there were to be multiple complaints. 

"Staff will meet with the property owner. We'll outline the concerns and the types of calls and concerns the neighbourhood would have of a particular property," said Duckworth. "And we'll work with that property owner to mitigate."

If that doesn't work, Duckworth said there could be fines up to $10,000 if the homeowner doesn't comply and clean things up. 

"Those types of calls, the property owner will be charged a fee," noted Duckworth. "The fee will include the cost of hourly rates for the employees who attend, including equipment, vehicles, and things like that. The bills could add up quite quickly, which we hope property owners will take swift action."

Councillor Ray Dhaliwal doesn't feel fines will resolve the problem.

"Between $2,000 and $10,000, if they're doing drugs there, I don't believe it's an issue, the fines," he said. "The landlords would probably pay the fines and just keep on going."

Dhaliwal, who said he'll be vocal about this bylaw at Tuesday's workshop, believes it's more about removing the troubled tenants. 

"Again, they can pay the fines and the tenants can stay is what I'm reading into at this time. I don't think that's acceptable," noted Dhaliwal. "The main thing is to get that problem tenant out of the house. If we have to go after the homeowner to make that happen, if they're not able to do it themselves, then I believe the city should be able to step in and enforce that action."

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