Village of Salmo tackles unsightly premises bylaw

The Village of Salmo is giving its unsightly premises bylaw a major overhaul.

The Village of Salmo is giving its unsightly premises bylaw a major overhaul.

Basically, once bylaw 649 is adopted, the responsibility of unkempt property will be taken from the government’s hands and placed squarely into the village’s.

“The old bylaw was based on the local government act,” said Scott Sommerville, chief administrative officer.

“The new bylaw will be based on the Community Charter.”

In other words, the current bylaw does not outline the procedure for allowing the property owner an opportunity to be heard (procedural fairness) or council to pass a resolution to enforce remedial action.

The old bylaw required enforcement under the Offence Act of BC, and the new bylaw will be enforced by municipal ticketing and remedial action, Sommerville explained.

Once the new bylaw is adopted, residents can expect a process whereby complaints will prompt an inspection; letter to the property owner; and report to council.

“Because remedial action cannot be delegated to staff for unsightly premises the person should have a chance to be heard,” explained Coun. Merle Hanson.

“As such, council will then make the decisions.”

If all these steps fail, the village can effect cleanup and add the expense of ensuing work to the property taxes, said Sommerville.

“Residents can expect that properties which take away from the well being of the community will be dealt with.”

Further, property owners will not just be fined, but the village will be able to conduct clean up and bill the owner for the work.

“Most of this bylaw is about going in and cleaning up,” said Sommerville.

The person is given three weeks to complete the clean up, and if not compliant, a report is given to council, he said.

“At that point, council may pass a resolution to allow a further three weeks, and the process will continue from there.”

After lengthy discussion, Salmo council gave the updated bylaw its first reading on Tuesday night.