Unsightly properties within Houston are deterring people from moving here as well as devaluing neighbourhoods, a resident told District of Houston council Nov. 19.
The resident, not identified in the minutes of that meeting, said he was concerned that the properties were not in compliance with District bylaws and that the bylaws are not being enforced.
“He further emphasized the snowball effect this may evoke as neighbours may not feel motivated to clean up their own properties if their neighbours’ properties are unsightly,” the minutes added.
The resident also wanted to know if properties that seemed uninhabitable had been inspected and approved for occupancy.
In response, chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck confirmed that occupancy permits are issued only if the building is in compliance with the B.C. Building Code and that building inspectors contracted through the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako are involved for ongoing bylaw enforcement issues.
Mayor Shane Brienen added that councilis aware of unsightly properties and is pursuing various measures, including increased bylaw enforcement.
He also said beautification of Hwy16 through town and in the downtown area are part of the District’s strategic plan.
More housing for seniors
Councillor Tom Stringfellow is continuing to advocate for the needs of seniors in the community.
In particular, the Nov. 19 minutes show he wants council to continue to press for housing for seniors.
“He stated the wait list for housing is continually increasing and that many seniors are in dire need,” the minutes indicate.
Health boss willing to visit
A senior Northern Health official is open to meeting with council to discuss local health care levels, reported Councillor Jonathan Van Barneveld.
That offer from Ciro Panessa follows council wishing to pursue Houston being considered a “small rural centre” as defined by Northern Health.
That designation that would be inclusive of 24/7 care, a service that is not now provided in the community.
Tree bylaw to be drafted
Following council’s wish, District staffers are to draft up a tree management bylaw for consideration.
“The tree management bylaw would cover trees on private and public property. Staff are reviewing bylaws from other jurisdictions, and will also be assessing jurisdictional conflicts concerning Crown land,” noted chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.
Emergency services grant wanted
The District is hoping a $25,000 grant from the province will helped modernize its emergency support services function.
There’s a shift toward electronic registration and reporting and the money would help by the needed equipment as well as continue a volunteer coordinator position.
Leisure services director Tasha Kelly told council the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako would submit the grant request on Houston’s behalf because it aligns with the regional district’s joint emergency services team.