The City of Penticton is taking aim at problem properties with a new “excessive nuisance abatement fee” that will target properties that receive three or more complaints in a year.
City council was unanimously in favour of the new fee, which was proposed by bylaw supervisor Tina Siebert. It would impose a $200 fee per nuisance call for bylaw and RCMP in excess of the three complaints per 12-month period, and a $400 fee per nuisance call for firefighters.
“The general rationale for implementing this nuisance abatement fee is to compel property owners to take more responsibility for their tenants and the activities that take place on their property,” said bylaw supervisor Tina Siebert.
“These are your major types of properties. These are necessarily the neighbour disputes. So it’s gone beyond the neighbour dispute. These are the ones that are significant time and resource users that require a response very frequently, very often and very serious.”
Siebert said bylaw already had a few properties in mind to take immediate action on, but didn’t specify any particular properties.
One property on Winnipeg Street has been the subject of a great deal of controversy on social media, and has even been taken to council by their neighbours. Asked if the fee was targeting that property, Jakubeit noted the bylaw would give enforcement more teeth for troublesome properties.
“I think there’s a commitment also to re-look at that portion of the Good Neighbour Bylaw, and maybe we need to give it more teeth or make it more encompassing or more focused,” he said.
“That will come over the next three months as bylaw services does kind of a review of how they can be more impactful. Certainly a conversation topic in our budget, when council committed to adding to bylaw.”
Jakubeit noted some of those properties are problematic not only for the next-door neighbour, but often for the whole street.
Council was roundly in favour of the proposal, voting it in unanimously.
Siebert said the city could look at using a similar tool for unsightly properties after Coun. Helena Konanz suggested it be used for the property with the old Esso station, which has been overgrown by weeds.