New bylaw tackles unsightly properties

fairways driveSun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) will strengthen their ability to tackle untidy properties, with the introduction of the Unsightly Premises Bylaw (No. 0043, 2015) at the SPMRM council meeting on May 25.

The bylaw would allow the municipality expanded powers when dealing with unsightly premises, including in some instances, the ability for the municipality to enter the property and clean the property themselves at the owner’s expense.

A property may be considered unsightly for several reasons including visible rubbish, an accumulation of building materials, storage of multiple unlicensed or derelict motor vehicles, the presence of graffiti, overgrown grass and weeds or the presence of noxious weeds.

Rob Bremner, chief administrative officer for the municipality, introduced the bylaw, which is set to replace an existing Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) bylaw.

“It’s not a new bylaw. We’re rewriting an old bylaw that had a lot of flaws in it. It was 15 or 20 years old and a lot of court cases have come and gone since then. We’ve rewritten it to make is stronger and clearer,” Bremner said.

SPMRM inherited all of the TNRD bylaws when the municipality was first formed, and these remain in place unless they’re rescinded and replaced by a SPMRM bylaw.

Bremner said the issue of unsightly premises was “very, very uncommon,” in Sun Peaks, however complaints against one specific property last year prompted the need for the updated bylaw.

“In my three years here, I’ve only had the one complaint,” Bremner said.

“We’ve had a situation in the past and we learned very quickly that the (existing TNRD) bylaw was not strong enough or clear enough. We took the winter to rewrite the bylaw and it will allow us to pursue that property in an easier fashion.”

While Bremner admitted the bylaw was broad — allowing it to apply for anything from building materials to vehicles to overgrown gardens — he said the final say would always come back to the council.

“It won’t be used frivolously.

“The first thing we’d do if we had a complaint is go knock on the door and explain the issue before we issue a notice of compliance. In most cases, it’s no problem and it gets cleaned up right away.”