Kelowna hitting ‘nuisance’ properties with new fine

The Nuisance Abatement Fee will cost property owners $250 per call after three calls in a year

Kelowna City Hall.—Image: Capital News file

Kelowna City Hall.—Image: Capital News file

Kelowna has a new weapon to use against the owners of property that generate a large number of city bylaw department complaints—the nuisance abatement fee.

The fee, part of the city’s revamped Good Neighbour Bylaw, is a $250 per call charge after three calls to the same property are made within a span of 12 months by police, the fire department or city bylaw officers.

City risk manager Lance Kayfish told council the fee could be attached to annual property taxes and would be over and above any fines for infractions of city rules levies by the city on a property owner.

He said it has been used in other B.C. municipalities and has proven successful.

Under the new rules, the designation of a nuisance property would stay on the property in question for one year after the three-calls-in-12-months period.

The fee will not be charged in case of medical or other emergencies.

The new fee is part of the city revamp of its rules to deal with issues such as unsightly premises, noise and graffiti.

The noise provisions include a change to the time construction must end in the city, moving it to 9 p.m. from the current 10 p.m. The city’s engineer will, however, have the power to relax that rule and authorize construction noise outside of the 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. time period.

The bylaw will also crack down on “roaring or explosive” engine or exhaust noise from cars, motorcycles and boats.

The city’s bylaw manager David Grazley told council the new rules are needed and he considers them “a way to move forward” in dealing with nuisance properties.

He said his department has had a problem with some properties rented out through AirB&B, where noise and parking have become ongoing problems.

But often, he said, the property owners do not take much notice.

“This (nuisance abatement fee) is one avenue that will catch their attention,” he said.