Editorial: Hit problem property owners in the wallet

One hundred and sixty-seven calls for police service to one property in a single year is ludicrous.

One hundred and sixty-seven calls for police service to one property in a single year is ludicrous.

We though 13 calls to one residence was pretty excessive, considering the number of times the RCMP is called to most people’s homes in a year is zero, until we hit that other figure.

And so we urge the Municipality of North Cowichan in the strongest possible terms to seriously consider the RCMP’s recommendation to bring in a nuisance property bylaw that would give somebody some teeth when it comes to cases like this.

We also do it because we’ve talked to far too many people over the last year who have had their lives disrupted and their ability to enjoy their own homes and neighbourhoods compromised by drug houses that have moved in like a sinister infection.

Frustration for these folks mounts as numerous calls to police and municipal authorities often fails to bring an end to the problem, which can carry on for months if not years.

Right now there isn’t any good way to address the true problem properties.

Affected neighbours are just told to keep and eye out and keep calling the RCMP.

Of course, not all of the places where police are frequently called are drug houses. In some cases it’s a domestic violence situation (which, sadly, may continue for years without resolution) or a mental health situation, where different avenues of attack may be preferable.

But a nuisance bylaw such as the one proposed could be a good tool in the box to fill the obvious gaping hole that’s swallowing whole neighbourhoods right now.

The idea of making landlords, in many of the worst cases absentee, more accountable is a good one. We’ve heard the other side of that argument, too, of course, where a landlord has had a horrendous time trying to evict a problem tenant, but far too many times it’s a case of out of sight out of mind. As long as the cheques keep rolling in, and they don’t have to live next door, they just don’t seem to care.

Since dollars are the only thing that seems to be important to them, hit them where it hurts: in the wallet.

What we have now isn’t enough. We have to try something different.

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