Penticton city council voted unanimously to take action on a mobile home damaged in a fire this summer that has yet to be dealt with by the owner.
On Aug. 15, a mobile home with a partially constructed addition and a detached shed was burnt in a fire that damaged the structures to an extent that repair is not possible, according to the City of Penticton.
A temporary fence around the structures, on pad 93 at 3245 Paris St. in the Whitewater Manufactured Home Park, was installed as a safety measure.
City staff asked council to endorse taking remedial action to deal with the problem property, giving the owner 30 days to demolish the building before the city steps in to to complete the work. If that happens, the owner will be billed for the costs.
Jennifer Wells, property use/license inspector, explained that since the property owner and the building owner are two different people, the cost couldn’t simply be added to the property taxes.
“My recommendation is to go through small claims and go after the mobile home owner,” said Wells, explaining that it would be more difficult to go after the owner of the mobile home park.
“I believe we would have had a bit of a struggle. I would continue going after the mobile home owner in this instance.”
Wells also said they have tried to contact the land owner and the park manager, but the only party to respond was the mobile home owner, who said he didn’t have the money to tear the home down.
“We could have also ticketed for the construction of the (un-permitted) addition, but I believe the funds aren’t there, so we might as well get what we can,” said Wells, adding there are also taxes in arrears for the mobile home.
Even before the fire, the property was the subject of complaints to the city. On Aug. 2, bylaw enforcement was dealing with an unsightly premises complaint, and on Aug. 8, the fire inspector attended in response to a complaint of vagrants entering a vacant structure.
A series of events followed, including the Aug. 15 fire, which resulted in the fire inspector declaring the property an “imminent danger to life and property” on Aug. 16, and a notice to the owner on Sept. 25 advising that the structure needed to be demolished by Oct. 29.
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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