Council has issued the third edict on a crappy situation.
The dumping of raw sewage on the ground and no potable water on a rental property has brought a second stern missive from city council—with one coming from the Interior Health Authority earlier.
Council received a report from Wayne Kopan, city manager of building inspection and bylaw services, regarding a property on Highway 3.
The city had received several prior complaints about the property, which had several derelict vehicles on it and tenants who lived out of recreational vehicles.
The main issues were the lack of potable water and washroom facilities for the additional tenants.
The owner, Balhar Saini, had already received two notices from the city—with the first one coming in April—and one from Interior Health.
Kopan asked council on Sept. 9 for permission to sent a third notice to the owner. The subsequent motion passed unanimously.
Grand Forks Mayor Brian Taylor said it is an unfortunate situation for the residents living on the property.
“There’s no infrastructure there,” said Taylor. “There’s no sewage disposal. There’s water coming out of buckets and hoses, but no sewage. They’re dumping raw sewage on the ground.”
He said council was sympathetic to the fact these were people who were not living this way by choice. The situation illustrated a serious lack of housing for low income people in the community that they have to resort to that kind of drastic living conditions, Taylor added.
“This has been ongoing for about six to eight months,” he said. “We need a resolution from council to clean up the property if they don’t do it on their own.”
Once the third letter is sent the owner will have a reasonable amount of time to make the clean up. If they don’t the city can bring in a contractor in and proceed with the cleanup work, and the owner will be billed on their property taxes.
Water meters are coming next year and the way is now being prepared for them.
City council approved a request for funding for locating water system infrastructure in Grand Forks in preparation for installation of water meters in 2014.
“We don’t know where some of the on/off switches are around our community,” said Mayor Brian Taylor. “We really need to know that for the operation of the city.”
Otherwise, if something happened in a house and there was water running, it would keep running until the water system contractors could find that shut-off valve, which could take some time if it was not located beforehand.
Taylor said that about 20 per cent of the shut-off valves in the city are hard to locate.
“We’re going to address those difficult to locate situations and shut-off valves so that when we come to putting in the water meters were not charged extra by our contractors because they can’t find the shut-off valves,” he said.
The cost of locating all of the shut-off valves is expected to be $96,000.
The entire cost of the water meter installation is expected to be $1.2 million, which will come from gas tax revenue, as will the preliminary work of location shut-off valves.