Town council have declared a house and buildings at 127 North Shore Rd. in Lake Cowichan as hazardous and given the owner 30 days to fix them up or tear them down.
Daniel Wort is the registered owner, but he lives in Japan, according to the Town of Lake Cowichan.
Both he and his current property manager “have been notified of the residential property posing a danger to life and limb” of anyone living there, or even just visiting it, town CAO Joe Fernandez told councillors at the Nov. 14 meeting.
“Despite the dangers posed, the property was until very recently, or may still be, inhabited by two or more tenants,” he said.
The extent of the danger was verified recently by the Lake Cowichan fire department, when, on Nov. 6 the firefighters had to attend a fire at the address.
“Despite the fact that BC Hydro had shut off the power to this address, the residence had continued to be inhabited with residents using a kerosene heater that had resulted in a fire that caused a call-in to the fire department,” Fernandez continued, adding, “the residents informed the fire department that a propane heater is also used for heating purposes.”
But even that isn’t all, the CAO told councillors.
“Fire and carbon monoxide poisoning and used syringes pose ever-present dangers to residents and visitors and those having to respond to emergencies at this or adjacent properties. The property also has garbage strewn in and outside the building. Further, there is evidence of holes constructed in the flooring of the building.
“In light of the foregoing and the dangers posed, the fire department has made it clear that it will only respond to fire calls at the address if accompanied by police. We have had written and verbal complaints on the subject property [and council needs to act] if public safety is to be protected,” he said.
“After talks with fire chief Doug Knott, it is clear that the structure is not suitable for human habitation at this time,” Fernandez concluded in his report to council.
Wort must demolish or remediate buildings on the property and remove all remnants of the demolished buildings no later than 30 days after notice has been sent to him.
He must also follow WorkSafeBC regulations and provide evidence that he has done so, and fill in any hole created by the removal of the building.
Wort also has the alternative of having the town do the demolition and clean up work, at his expense.