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New Powell River bylaw takes aim at derelict, abandoned buildings

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Powell River has a new bylaw meant to crack down on owners of vacant and derelict buildings.

The city says the Property and Building Maintenance Standards Bylaw “protects and enhances the well-being of the community.”

According to the bylaw, such conditions are detrimental to the welfare of people living in the city and contribute substantially and increasingly to the deterioration of the community.

“There’s no question there has been a history of challenges with some vacant and abandoned buildings in our community,” said Chief Administrative Officer, Russell Brewer. 

“The new bylaw is intended to help the community and city work proactively with property owners so that unsightly and unsafe buildings can be maintained before they become so derelict that remediation orders and demolition may be required.”

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Fire Chief Terry Peters said securing vacant buildings to prevent squatters lessens the risk of fire, which directly attributes to a greater risk for firefighters and neighbouring properties.

Councillor Maggie Hathaway said, “This bylaw provides a clear description of what is acceptable and what is not, and what is expected of the citizens of Powell River with respect to their property.”

The city says the important underlying issue that the bylaw recognizes is the critical need for housing in Powell River.

“As we heard in the recent qathet Regional Housing Needs Report, numerous renters in this community have expressed concerns with their health and safety living in poorly maintained rental units,” said Regional Social Planner, Kai Okazaki. 

“One focus of this bylaw provides an important tool for the city to ensure that our existing rental properties are met with standards that ensure quality, safety, livability and affordability of housing in the city.”

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