Call it a making good on an election promise.
For the last four Trail city council meetings elected officials have been dealing with matters pertaining to unsightly premises.
On Monday night at its regular meeting council served notice to two more property owners—1455 Daisy St. and 395 Martin St.—that they were contravening the city’s Unsightly Premises Bylaw and were given 30 days to rectify the matters.
The two items underlined what has been a council directive since they were elected last fall, said councillor Rick Georgetti.
“It was a big issue during the election that we wanted to clean up the downtown and the whole city, in fact,” he said. “If you clean up the city it will be attract more people. We all believe that.”
If you let the city deteriorate, it will negatively impact people’s perception of Trail, he said.
“So there is an effort, no doubt about it,” he said, which dovetails into the Trail Downtown Plan that was released last spring.
Not all communities have an extensive bylaw that covers all aspects of unsightly premises, said city corporate administrator Michelle MacIsaac, but the city has always employed the Unsightly Premises Bylaw—from 25 to 50 per month in the summer.
The bylaw covers items such as grass over 15 centimetres, “allowing” graffiti on the property, allow the accumulation of garbage, or permit any structure to “remain an unsightly structure.”
The bylaw also covers the accumulation of building materials without a permit, have unlicensed vehicles on the property that are not properly stored, and accumulate “dead animals, paper products, crockery, glass, metal, plastics, plastic containers, wire, ropes, machinery, tires, appliances, vehicle parts, and any other scrap metal, scrap or salvage.”
“(The bylaw) is a reminder to property owners to remove discarded materials, we also don’t allow a number of unlicensed vehicles on the property or even the overgrowth of vegetation,” said MacIsaac.
The reason council is dealing with these matters in abundance right now towards the end of summer is due to the regulatory process involved. If bylaw rules are broken, bylaw officers start with a letter to the occupants and the property owner and request attention to whatever might be needed. This letter comes with a 15-day compliance time.
If the property owner has not complied after inspection by the city, the matter advances to corporate administration and MacIsaac then advises them that council will “consider” it at their next meeting.
“For the most part, the occupants and property owners that we approach with a letter voluntarily comply within the time frames,” MacIsaac said. “The ones council sees are a fraction of the number of properties we deal with. And it really is … a reminder of attention to detail.”
On any date that is 30 days after delivery of a removal order the city may enter the property and remove, clear or remedy any thing or any condition stated in the order to remedy the situation—and will bill the property owner for the work.
If the debt remains unpaid on Dec. 31 in the year the work was done, the city will add the cost of the work to the taxes due and owing on the affected parcel.
If a property owner is found guilty of an offence against this bylaw and is liable on summary conviction, they can be fined from $1,000 to $10,000.