City gives teeth to nuisance bylaw

City council is hoping an increase in excessive nuisance fees to as much as $10,000 will hamper repeat complaints at rental properties.

City council is hoping an increase in excessive nuisance fees to as much as $10,000 will hamper repeat complaints at rental properties.

As it stands now, a property owner is issued a letter warning of a $250 fee once three nuisance calls have come in about a property.

“We need a minimum fee of $1,000 for a second offence, $5,000 for a third offence and $10,000 if there’s a fourth or subsequent offence,” said Coun. Scott Nelson as he proposed the amended fee structure. “I’m also going to ask that the prolific offenders be added on there as well because they have to be targeted and made responsible for their wrong doing.”

Upping the fee will give the bylaw office teeth and send a message that the city’s politicians are serious, he added.

Senior bylaw officer Brendan Foote said his office works closely with the RCMP and there are a couple of properties that have been issued multiple fines, but the fines are not working as a deterrent.

“Once you have three nuisance calls a letter gets sent to the property owner advising them there have been nuisance calls to the property,” Foote said. “We list the times and dates the RCMP have attended and advise them if the RCMP continue to attend the property they will be issued a fee.”

Applauding the decision to increase the fees, RCMP community safety co-ordinator Dave Dickson said there are three people who own 52 properties and 11 of the 52 were visited by police 190 times last year.

“We had two murders in town last year,” Dickson.”These are the kinds of places our police are going to continuously.”

In addition to increasing the fees, council asked that its general governance committee go back and review the bylaw so that offenders are made to pay fees also.

“I think we need to hold people accountable for the damages they create because targeting just the homeowner is wrong,” Nelson said. “If you just kick people out they will move two doors down and cause more trouble. It will just be a ping pong.”