Nuisance properties target of a new Ladysmith bylaw

A nuisance abatement process and bylaw is scheduled to be considered

A nuisance abatement process and bylaw is scheduled to be considered by Ladysmith Council at its next meeting Sept. 21.

“It’s not to be under estimated, this is a really big deal,” Mayor Aaron Stone said during discussion of a staff report on implementation during the Aug. 17 council meeting. “This will perhaps give us some clout.”

One of the main targets of the bylaw will be houses where rowdy and sometimes illegal activities are taking place.

The draft bylaw mentions: noisy parties or groups, loud music, car racing, yelling and shouting, fighting, littering, trespassing, illuminations, vibration, odours, accumulation of water or other liquids on the property, unsanitary conditions or ‘other objectional situations.’

Not only do nuisance properties disturb neighbours and place adjacent properties at risk, they also cause a significant drain on municipal and other resources.

Coun. Duck Paterson noted that one house in Ladysmith had generated 91 calls to the RCMP. He noted that as well as the time spent responding to those calls, police spent between four and five hours doing paper work for each hour attending.

“This has the potential of saving us $6,500 per year,” he said of that one property.

Nuisance abatement will make a ‘significant difference in our community’ Town Manager Ruth Malli said.

Ladysmith is basing its process and bylaw on the experiences of Nanaimo, which brings together nuisance abatement teams, that work to resolve issues with problem properties there.

She said staff will be recommending a similar process for Ladysmith, activating police, emergency, civic and social services as needed in individual situations.

“We will be establishing our own group,” Malli said.

The proposed nuisance abatement bylaw and process will incorporate changes to B.C.’s Community Charter which authorize local governments to ‘regulate, impose requirements and prohibit’ activities that disturb neighbourhoods and can ‘become hazardous situations.’