The Golden Town council has one last step to go through before it officially passes the town’s first property maintenance bylaw.
“We’ve talked about it for the last nine years,” said Mayor Christina Benty. “We finally have a relatively short, but succinct bylaw.”
Property maintenance bylaw no. 1287, which will outline the standard care required of all property owners, will go through its final reading at the Sept. 20 council meeting.
“We anticipate they will adopt the bylaw,” said Jon Wilsgard, manager of corporate services.
“It is based on the premise that every resident in the community has the right to ensure there is a standard of care. It’s about property values, it’s about aesthetics, and societal expectations,” said Wilsgard. “It really has to do with ownership and pride.”
The bylaw, which is complaint based, will focus on problems like derelict vehicles, junk, refuse, and poorly kept outbuildings.
If a complaint is filed, the town will do an assessment, make a judgment, and start issuing warnings. The complainant will have the chance to make an appeal, but if unsuccessful, the town then has the legal right to enter the property with a third party to resolve the problem, which will often mean removing something from the property.
“The last thing we want to do is physically go in and do this,” said Wilsgard. “What we are hoping is that the property owners will fix the problem themselves.”
If the town does have to go in and remove an item, the cost will be added on to the owner’s property tax for the following year.
“Fines are directly related to the taxation system,” said Wilsgard. “The message here is, council is fairly serious about this.”
Information about what the bylaw actually entails will be released over the next few weeks. Although the bylaw will officially be in effect as soon as it is passed, Wilsgard does not anticipate too much will be done with it until the spring, as the issues will be harder to assess during the winter.
Bylaws such as these have been difficult for other communities in the past, says Wilsgard, because whose to say what constitutes “unsightly.”
“Great steps have been made in the last few years to advance the success of these bylaws,” said Wilsgard, adding that council is confident that they have a very clear bylaw, especially when they have such great community support.
“Council feels that having a nice looking community is important, especially for a resort community like ours,” said Wilsgard.