Unsightly in eyes of beholder
But new bylaw provides plenty of room for appeal, says administration

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 04/98) - A new bylaw to force people to clean up their property will be sent back, unchanged, to the council that ordered it reviewed.

The bylaw, which will give the city the right to enter and inspect properties and, if it feels necessary, order property owners to clean up their land.

It will give the city the authority to fine property owners who do not comply with cleanup orders. If property owners do not comply, the bylaw permits the city to enter the property and do the clean-up itself, then charge the cost to the property owner.

Ald. Ben McDonald prompted the review, saying it relied too heavily on the discretionary power of bylaw officers.

"I can see why some property owners might want their neighbor's house painted," McDonald said at the Nov. meeting. "But I'm not sure I want a bylaw officer coming around and telling me I have to paint my house."

He referred specifically to a section that states, "If an enforcement officer considers any property to be unsightly land, the enforcement officer may issue a cleanup order."

Since then, both Ald. Peggy Near and Robert Slaven have expressed concerns to administration about the bylaw.

But administration says the concerns are unwarranted.

"It's pretty clear there's lots of opportunity to appeal to council," senior administrator Doug Lagore told the city development committee Monday.

The committee is responsible for the review. It recommended council give the bylaw second and third readings.

To clarify the way the bylaw would work, committee was presented with a flow chart. It illustrated the appeal to council, which must be made within 14 days of receiving a cleanup order, provided for in the bylaw.