District of Houston municipal office

District to target nuisances in proposed bylaw

Would allow fees to be assessed against offenders

The District of Houston is taking another step to increase its ability to have people comply with its various bylaws.

And that’s to have staffers draft a nuisance bylaw which will include the ability to levy fees for actions taken by the District to deal with any number of issues ranging from noise to unsightly premises to accumulated garbage on property, to emissions that contaminate the atmosphere to unsanitary conditions to trees, weeds and any other growth that the District feels should be cut down or trimmed.

Council members considered the matter of fees at its Oct. 6 meeting, directing staffers to draft a bylaw establishing a set fee for a first visit to a property or in responding to a situation.

It would also allow for “actual costs to be collected for labour, equipment, contractor, and materials costs related to abating a nuisance. This system would allow the District to directly abate nuisances for identified nuisance properties, and impose the costs onto the property taxes as a special charge against the land for the property if the fees remain unpaid,” said District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck in outlining council’s intent.

“Council has further requested that staff present a recommendation on how these properties will be identified which is both clear and practical.”

Staffers will now review fees charged by other communities before making recommendations.

Pinchbeck said the District’s new bylaw enforcement officer, a position it is sharing with the regional district, will be the primary responder to nuisance issues.

“This fits into our strategy for improving compliance with municipal bylaws,” he noted.

A memo from District communications officer Holly Brown, which presented council with various options, did note that following an order from Council to deal with a nuisance, property owners would have the opportunity to appear before Council.

“Nuisance abatement fees would only provide our bylaw enforcement personnel with a last resort tool to deter non-compliance behavior …..,” she wrote.

A list of what other communities charge was also presented by Brown. Nanaimo, for example, charges $250 per attendance by any staffer. Williams Lake charges the same while Hope and Clearwater charge $100 per call.

A list of nuisances which could be identified by the District as needing action and included by Brown in her memo included noise or other circumstances “liable to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of individuals or the public” and “indecency and profane, blasphemous or grossly insulting language.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

(Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared Thursday.
COVID-19 outbreak at LNG Canada Project site

14 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time

topley 4H
Year end from Topley 4H

Topley 4-H club is at it again with another amazing year. The… Continue reading

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Most Read