Council cleans up the city
Complaints of unsightly Fernie properties have prompted the city to take action and enforce their existing bylaws.
The city received notice of unsightly lands when a bylaw enforcement officer issued two separate warnings to a property in the Annex without receiving a response.
At the July 28 council meeting council passed a motion allowing city employees to remove discarded debris, discarded vehicle parts and trash, and to cut and remove all long grasses and weeds on the Annex property and two other Fernie properties at the expense of the owner.
“I think that’s more than fair,” Councillor Dan McSkimming said.
“We’re giving this guy every chance.”
Martineau said that the total cost to clean these properties would range between $250 and $1,000, depending on the amount of work needed in order for the lot to meet city standards.
Two of the properties are currently vacant lots and only require basic lawn and weed maintenance.
The city will be issuing notice of the scheduled work, giving property owners one last chance to comply with the unsightly prevention bylaw.
During the meeting however, council questioned why the city had not issued these property owners fines.
“Why we haven’t given them a ticket escapes me,” Councillor Willard Ripley said.
“I’m fully in support of getting this mess cleaned up. But I think in the future we should be enforcing and giving tickets.”
Councillor Macnair added, “I think staff is finding that balance between fairness and lets get this cleaned up.”
Going forward, council said they plan to enforce this bylaw in a timelier manner.
“After the first notice, when we send the second notice, that should been with a ticket,” Martineau said.
The current bylaw states that a bylaw enforcement officer can issue a ticket of $100 for the first offence and $250 for each subsequent offence until the owner cleans the property.
Moving forward, the city will be issuing a warning ticket the first week of the offence and a ticket the following week.