Duncan mayor Phil Kent. (Citizen file)

Duncan mayor Phil Kent. (Citizen file)

Duncan wants more good neighbours

Nuisance neighbours were in council’s crosshairs this week

Nuisance neighbours were in council’s crosshairs this week during the City of Duncan’s regular meeting April 18.

Councillors gave the first three readings to a bylaw allowing the city to become more efficient in addressing nuisance properties after receiving complaints.

The Good Neighbour Bylaw ensures property owners are able to enjoy a modicum of peace without intrusion from nearby residents. More specifically, it outlines what city officials can do about annoying neighbours once a complaint has been received.

Noise issues, graffiti, allowing refuse, garbage “or other material that is noxious, offensive or unwholesome” to accumulate on a property and the buildup of weeds and such are all addressed within the bylaw.

A mishmash of old bylaws address many of the same issues but most are out of date, according to a staff report. It was easier to write a new bylaw than to update many of the old ones.

“It consolidates things that were nuisances in other bylaws and pulls it all into one more comprehensive package,” Duncan Mayor Phil Kent explained. “It puts a little bit more emphasis on being able to address those nuisances more directly.”

There’s due process when it comes to dealing with those types of calls but the new bylaw shortens the timeline for the city to be able to proceed when required.

The issue was broached back in November 2016 when council talked about the increasing number of calls regarding nuisance properties, which seemed to be associated with criminal activity. While criminal activity falls under the jurisdiction of the RCMP, council recognized there were things they could shore up within their own bylaws.

“We had a couple of challenging bylaw issues where it was clear that we needed to modernize what we were doing so that we had the most tools available for us,” Kent said.