Saanich turns to rarely used power after repeat violations of unsightly premise bylaw

"You're going on to someone's private property and removing their possessions. It's pretty dramatic power," said Mayor Frank Leonard about this rarely used order. "When you're municipal government, our power is around land-use and property, not around people. It's very hard to regulate a bad neighbour, so we'll do everything in our power to help out a neighbourhood."

Vehicle parts, old sinks and garbage will be removed from a Saanich property after council gave approval to a remedial order Monday night to have the land cleaned and the bill sent to the property’s owner.

The home, at 3422 Harriet Rd., has a history of violations for unsightly premises, noxious weeds and garbage. Though there’s been compliance from the owner in the past, the property is a problem for the neighbourhood and will now be cleaned.

“You’re going on to someone’s private property and removing their possessions. It’s pretty dramatic power,” said Mayor Frank Leonard about this rarely used order. “When you’re municipal government, our power is around land-use and property, not around people. It’s very hard to regulate a bad neighbour, so we’ll do everything in our power to help out a neighbourhood.”

Senior bylaw officer Doug Roberts said they’ve received 28 calls for service about the property since September 2009. He said the homeowner will soon be formally notified and will then have 30 days to comply before action is taken. The municipality will subsequently bill the homeowner for the work, including the labour costs for clearing, fees charged for dumping the waste and the wages of the attending police and bylaw officers.

kslavin@saanichnews.com