City council is hoping an increase in the city’s fines for noise and nuisance calls to as high as $1,080 will help solve a chronic problem in Williams Lake.
“The police are called to drug houses time and time again and the landlords don’t seem to care,” Mayor Walt Cobb said of the fee structure council approved at its Dec. 1 council meeting. “As long as they are renting out their places they don’t pay attention to what’s going on in them.”
City council hoped by raising the fee structure as high as $5,000 landlords would be made accountable, but learned that would require legislative changes and all the city could do was justify the costs.
“We had to be able to justify the costs of the RCMP and the bylaw staff of having to go back to some of these houses,” Cobb said. “The fee structure we have is the highest we were permitted.”
Noise and or nuisance subject to the fines as defined in the bylaw is that which is beyond a normal disturbance of quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment comfort or convenience of any persons or persons in a neighborhood or vicinity of that place as to be determined by the attending bylaw officer or RCMP officer.
The first offence is a warning only. For the second and subsequent offences, the fine is $1,080 and each offence afterwards is another $270.
“That $1,080 is an accumulation of the first few times they go to a residence,” Cobb explained. “The landlords will get the bills and if they don’t pay it will go on their taxes. They will have to start being responsible for who their tenants are.”