As Trail prepares to put its best foot forward for blooming judges this weekend, the city is doing its best to tackle the not so sightly overgrowth and trash left to accumulate on certain properties.
Unsightly premise infractions stand at three this week – home owners from the Gulch through Shavers Bench are given up to one month to clean up garbage and overgrown vegetation before the city steps in at a cost.
Besides refuse, that in these cases range from garbage bags, broken furniture, a mattress and carpeting – the bylaw rules are clear – on a developed property, grass cannot grow higher than 15 centimetres.
Because Trail has a bylaw officer on staff, routine neighbourhood patrols are carried out, as well as responses to public complaints of unsightly yards.
First a notice is left requesting the work be dealt with. If the notice goes unheeded, a letter is left with the timeline, and failing compliance, the matter is referred to council for a resolution.
After viewing respective photos and bylaw enforcement notes at regular council, the panel consents to issue notice that specific action must be taken within four weeks such as garbage removal and grass cutting.
When the action isn’t undertaken in that time, the city will carry out the work and charge expenses to the property owner. If the outstanding balance isn’t paid by Dec. 31 that year, it becomes part of taxes in arrears.
The latter is not the usual course of resolution, however.
“In terms of compliance, it is most common that property owners/occupants contacted by the city and asked to take action will do so voluntarily within the time limits requested,” notes Corporate Administrator Michelle McIsaac. “Those that don’t however are advanced to Trail city council to issue an order for clean up under the bylaw. Once ordered by council, the owner would then have 30 days to rectify the situation before the city would arrange for a contracted clean up of the property, at the property owner’s expense.”
Additionally, the city’s boulevard regulation bylaw indicates property owners must improve that space consistent with improvements made on the property it fronts.
So from the city tackling the more extreme matters to residents no matter the age, street address, or green thumb ability – each person can help Trail become a winner on the 2016 national stage for cities under 50,000.
This year Trail is competing against past Communities in Bloom (CiB) winners in a medium category called the Class of Champions – judges arrive Friday to begin adjudicating the city against the best of the best.
As Trail Community in Bloom volunteers have only days left for bigger jobs like planting the White Garden in Jubilee Park. pulling weeds and touching up planters throughout town – they have a request for each community member.
“We are asking people to clean up their streets, make sure there is no grass coming out of their sidewalks, cut their grass and trim the boulevard in front of their house,” explained Trail volunteer Lana Rodlie.
“And to pick up any garbage they see lying around, just try to get things spruced up.”
She suggests parents involve children in fostering of civic pride by visiting local parks to clean up garbage and pick up discarded recyclables.
“The CiB judging isn’t about what our committee does,” Rodlie said. “Yes, our committee does give direction – but the judges are looking at the town, what the town does and what the community does as a whole.”
Another area of focus, particularly this week, is Trail’s most recognizable feature – the covered stairs.
Volunteers have been cleaning up debris and graffiti from the sites for months, but with 63 sets that near 7,000 vertical feet, most in West Trail – Rodlie encourages all passersby to pick up discarded trash and recyclables.
Judges Lorna McIlroy and Mauro Paradisi will tour the city on Saturday. Trail is up against Castlegar; Beaumont, AB; and Charlottetown, P.E.I.