Property owners in Prince Albert, Sask. may be getting slapped with violation notices about buildings that have been unoccupied for long periods of time. City council has approved amendments to the property amenities bylaw to allow enforcement staff to deal with vacant and boarded buildings.
Ultimately, the city is hoping vacant buildings won’t be left alone long-term and that property owners encourage re-occupancy in a timely manner.
“This has been a longstanding issue for city council,” said Mayor Greg Dionne in a press release.
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“These properties can become a burden on a neighbourhood. I’m looking forward to our staff taking on a proactive approach to this problem and getting the enforcement process started sooner.”
To see less of this happening, the bylaw has an expanded definition of what qualifies as a nuisance to specifically include boarded and unoccupied buildings.
“Without elaborating on this definition, these properties might arguably not be considered in violation of any legislative standard,” said Ken Paskaruk, the city solicitor for the City of Prince Albert.
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To enforce the bylaw, officials will report and inspect timeframes and compliance orders will also be sent out to property owners who fail to address the problem.
“The objective is to give property owners the opportunity to self-remedy the nuisance over a reasonable period of time,” said Paskaruk. “The process begins by engaging property owners to address properties in violation with rehabilitation being the ultimate goal.”
There are approximately 50 to 60 properties registered as unsightly, boarded or vacant in Prince Albert.