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Injunction sought against South Okanagan properties

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen looks to deal with bylaw and safety code infractions

Court orders will be sought to force three South Okanagan property owners to play by the rules.

Directors of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen voted last week to seek court injunctions to deal with bylaw and safety code infractions that the owners have repeatedly failed to address. Notices will also be placed on the property titles warning potential buyers about the deficiencies.

However, some of the directors see a need for an intermediate step, such as fines, between written warnings and court orders.

“I always think that (hitting) the pocketbook gets people’s attention more than a notice on title,” said Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes, who sits on the RDOS board.

RDOS chief administrative officer Bill Newell said he would investigate the idea.

Newell explained that injunctions are sought simply to remedy problems, and a fine “could be an incentive to do that.”

Kaleden-Okanagan Falls Director Tom Siddon supported Hovanes’s call for more robust enforcement action “with teeth in it” to prevent ongoing and flagrant violations.

“What are we doing sitting around this table for, trying to run a government, if people just go ahead and do what they want to do?” Siddon said.

The violations at issue are: an outbuilding on an Osoyoos-area farm that is too close to a property line; an incomplete final building inspection that found six deficiencies at a home near Osoyoos; and an unfenced pool and unpermitted deck at a home in Naramata.