Workers from North Cowichan clear the tall grass on an empty lot on Lewis Street on July 24. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Workers from North Cowichan clear the tall grass on an empty lot on Lewis Street on July 24. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Municipality steps in to again clean up abandoned Lewis Street property in Duncan

Neighbours complained about drug users, noise

Bylaw officers, police and clean-up crews descended on an empty lot on Lewis Street early in the morning of July 24 to clear and clean the area.

Some neighbours of the property, which is surrounded on two sides by apartment buildings, had been complaining about the fact that the privately owned lot had been neglected for some time and had become an eyesore.

As well, people began visiting the lot to shoot-up drugs and set up tents some nights as they remained hidden from view in the tall grass.

Peter Smith lives adjacent to the lot and he had been complaining about it to the authorities in the Municipality of North Cowichan.

“Me and the rest of the neighbours of this lot have been putting up with a lot of crap for years and we want something done,” he said days before authorities moved in on the property.

Nelda Richardson, the manager of building and compliance with North Cowichan, said the municipality had been working to do something about the lot for some time.

“We’ve been going through a process of trying to get the property owner to comply with our bylaws for quite a while, and the final date for him to do something was on July 24,” Richardson said.

“He’ll be invoiced for the work that was done. We intend to keep monitoring the property to make sure our bylaws are being followed and the site is kept in good condition.”

Richardson said a sharps pick-up team went into the lot first to dispose of any discarded needles, and police were on hand to deal with any campers or anyone else who might have been on the property at the time, though nobody was there.

Municipal workers then went in to cut the grass and remove any debris in the area.

The lot was also in the news last December when a small tent city for homeless people started to form there.

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North Cowichan officials had been unsuccessful at the time in contacting its owner to address the issue of the trespassing campers, making efforts to remove the tents complicated.

The owner was eventually tracked down and allowed bylaw officers and the RCMP to clear the site of the campers.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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