Updated nuisance bylaw in the works

New bylaw that will give it the clout it needs to deal more effectively with nuisance properties in the community.

Updated nuisance bylaw in the works

Ladysmith council is looking to bring in a new bylaw that will give it the clout it needs to deal more effectively with nuisance properties in the community.

Intended to deal with any ‘activity or matter’ that disturbs the “quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment or convenience of individuals or the public,” a staff report recommends the Nuisance Abatement Bylaw be brought back for first three readings at its Sept. 21 regular meeting.

What is a nuisance?

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 a property, unsanitary conditions, or ‘other objectionable situations.’

Ladysmith’s current Nuisance Regulation Bylaw, which was adopted in 1993, is outdated because it does not take into account changes that have been made to B.C.’s Community Charter. A revised bylaw will:

• coordinate better with police and fire services when dealing with a nuisance situation;

• give staff greater scope in dealing immediately with nuisance situations, without requiring an immediate referral to council;

“The proposed nuisance abatement process… ensures the cooperative involvement of town staff and the RCMP from the beginning to facilitate a quick resolution of the issue,” the recommendation from City Manager Ruth Malli says.

The proposed ‘nuisance abatement process’ has been based in part on procedures that have been implemented in Nanaimo, and the Ladysmith staff met with Nanaimo staff, police and fire services in preparing the draft Ladysmith Nuisance Abatement Bylaw.

A chart accompanying the draft bylaw shows a staged process from identification of a nuisance situation, to notification of the property owner, to inspection and a meeting with the owner to outlining what needs to be done to remedy the situation, to official declaration of the property  as a nuisance by Council.

At that point, if the owner does not resolve the issue, steps can be taken by the appropriate authorities, and the costs billed to the property owner.

“Outcomes of the process are dependent on the severity of the issue and the response of the property owner,” the report to Council states.

A note in the report adds: “Staff are also reviewing the possible adoption of a Property Maintenance Bylaw, which is another useful tool that other local governments have implemented to address nuisance property issues.”