City doubles bylaw fines for unsightly properties

Property maintenance makes up 80% of bylaw calls: Scott

Bylaw fines for unsightly properties in Port Alberni will be doubled, following a recommendation from the city’s manager of bylaw services.

Council gave final reading to a Property Maintenance Bylaw amendment during a council meeting on Monday, Nov. 12. The proposed amendment changes collection fees from $100 to $200 per offence.

Bylaw Services Manager Flynn Scott said on Monday that property maintenance calls are heavy on bylaw resources, and also time-consuming.

“When I did a review of the bylaw services department, I found that about 80 percent of our calls were in relation to property maintenance,” he explained.

Scott was hired by the city in May of this year, after city council agreed to start budgeting for a full bylaw enforcement department. Since then, Scott has been working to make sure the department is “proactive, instead of reactive.”

New procedures have been implemented for dealing with enforcement issues, especially when it comes to chronic offenders. Whenever a complaint is filed with bylaw services, a letter is sent out to property owners. A bylaw enforcement officer attends after 14 days to make sure the property has been cleaned up.

“Failure to comply…from there, what we’ll do is we’ll issue a fine,” said Scott. “If you don’t clean it up in that time, we actually have a contractor come in and do the work and we bill it back to the property owner.”

He emphasized that public education and voluntary compliance come before fines.

Councillor Cindy Solda expressed her concern that the new fees were still too low, especially for absentee landlords, and suggested revisiting the bylaw in six months to see the results.

“The only way to get something done is to bump them up,” she said.

Councillor Helen Poon asked about the city’s compliance rate, and Scott said that it has been “very successful” since the procedural changes.

“Our bylaw admin staff anticipated that we would get a lot of angry customers coming back,” he said “In fact, it’s actually been the opposite.”

The city has had an extremely low pay rate of fines in the past, which he attributed to some clerical errors that are now being reviewed. Port Alberni is now at a 14 percent pay rate of tickets, said Scott, compared to a 46 percent rate across the province.

On Monday, council also gave first readings to an amended bylaw for building standards—a bylaw that had not had any amendments since its adoption in 2014. Scott also mentioned a new pilot project for graffitti on buildings that will be rolling out in the coming weeks. This initiative, he said, will have an enforcement side, as well as a “proactive, engagement side” where the city works with local business owners.

Scott will also be drafting a brand new Property Maintenance Bylaw, since it is so frequently used. Bylaws are coming to council in a priority order, he said last week.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s Kari Trott set to shine at Canada Winter Games

Trott is one of two Special Olympics BC figure skaters invited to the national event

BCHL: Bulldogs’ Hawthorne commits to NCAA Wildcats

20-year-old goaltender earns scholarship to play Div. 1 hockey next year

Port Alberni realtor trekking the Sahara Desert in support of ACAWS

Chris Fenton of The Fenton Team will spend five days hiking in the Sahara Desert

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Port Alberni bear spraying suspect arrested in Coombs

Nanaimo resident facing 16 criminal charges after “well coordinated” RCMP effort

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Most Read