Derelict property. File photo

Landlord wants city to crackdown on derelict properties

Landowner says Penticton needs to devote more resources to bylaw enforcement

A Penticton landlord wants the City of Penticton to step up the penalties in the city’s good neighbour bylaw.

Matt Taylor, who along with his wife owns two rental properties in Penticton, started his presentation to council Tuesday with a video he said showed a drug purchase happening.

The video, shot from Taylor’s neighbouring property, shows a man walking back and forth in front of a side window.

“He’ll put some cash on the window sill and in time he will receive something back. You and I can guess what it is,” said Taylor, acknowledging that the activity is difficult to discern and the video would likely be inadmissible as court evidence.

Besides the possible illegal drive-thru drug window, Taylor said there are a number of problems with the property citing health and safety concerns, people living in RVs on the property and the general undesirables drawn to the area.

“We deal with sleepers. I have had people living under the stairs,” said Taylor, adding that once, he found someone had fitted the place out with candles and a sleeping bag.

“He’s got a nice little home there,” said Taylor. “It’s unacceptable. You wouldn’t put up with it if it was anywhere on your block.

“We have contacted fire, we have contacted bylaw, we have contacted RCMP, we have even gone to Interior Health.”

Taylor said that though they haven’t been able to deal with the problem, the City of Penticton bylaw department has tried.

“They have taken it upon themselves, with a little bit of needling from myself and probably some others, to co-ordinate a joint group between RCMP, fire and city bylaw,” said Taylor. “They are however, completely under-resourced.”

Taylor said he was once told when he made a complaint to bylaw that there was only one officer on, and they wouldn’t send someone to the problem property alone.

“You’re not happy sending one officer, how do you think I feel?” said Taylor.

Taylor noted the criminal problems were the responsibility of the RCMP, but that the city has a responsibility to ensure their own bylaws and other standards were enforced.

“What we need, from my perspective, is significantly greater investment in the resources available to bylaw enforcement, that includes more staff, probably more cash costs as well for them to be effective,” said Taylor. “The things that responsible landowners want you to enforce occur probably from eight in the evening till four in the morning and you have no one.”

Taylor also wants to see the penalties under the good neighbour bylaw stepped up to encourage landowners to be more responsible about rental properties.

“You have to do something. Increased resources to bylaw enforcement is one. Increasing penalties, escalating penalties, expropriation,” said Taylor. “I would think you have ample reason for giving more than $50 penalties.

“It is a nice town, it is a good city but there are several rundown, fairly decrepit properties that my sense is in other cities there would be a lot of attention shown on these properties to get them to comply.”

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the issues raised by Taylor would be discussed during the budget process, starting in late November. Hopefully, Jakubeit said, the city would be able to follow up in a month or two.

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