Following the discussion before, during and after my community safety online meeting earlier this month, and my discussion with CBC, I committed to a plan that would see town departments work more closely together, in tandem with the OPP to deal with community safety complaints around “drug houses” also known as “trap houses” and other properties deemed to be unsafe, or violating property standards and where residents may be violating other municipal bylaws, provincial and federal statutes.
Homes and buildings that are left in a state of disrepair, have unpermitted / uninspected structural changes, suffer from neglect, appear to be unsafe for occupancy or have accumulation of garbage etc will find themselves under the scrutiny of this new initiative. Allowing these to remain un-checked detracts from the lawful enjoyment of neighbouring property owners, impacts property values and makes our community look bad to residents and visitors alike.
Complaints would come in, be recorded, classified and triaged to bylaw, building inspectors, fire prevention officers and police for review, investigation and response. The key point is that what I am proposing will be applicable to any resident / property in the Town and not created solely to “target” any one demographic – although the owners of these “trap houses” may find themselves on the initial list of candidate properties for this kind of multi-departmental review and action.
In an attempt to formalize the coordinated collection, response and follow-up of these complaints, I am proposing the following at next Wednesday’s council meeting:
That Staff prepare a response policy framework and return to Council with a draft plan that addresses the collection, documentation, inter-departmental triage, response, and follow-up activities for community safety complaints that relate to property standards and other related by-laws, building code safety/fire safety that may impact safe occupancy of the subject property, as well as the lawful enjoyment of neighbouring property owners and municipal lands/assets/infrastructure.
If you have input about this proposal, please reach out to your councillors prior to next Wednesday’s meeting where my motion will be debated and I seek council support to implement this strategy.