Owners of derelict and abandoned storefronts in Enderby are being put on a short leash.
The city is moving ahead with a policy that will allow it to inspect vacant commercial and industrial buildings.
“We hope people will step up and take responsibility for their buildings and not just let them be run down,” said Coun. Shawn Shishido.
There are a number of empty buildings downtown and concerns exist around public health and safety.
“One had a flood a couple of years ago and we’re not sure if it was cleaned up or they just shut the water off,” said Mayor Greg McCune.
“We want to make sure downtown doesn’t burn down because someone didn’t look after their building,”
City staff insist there are sufficient enforcement tools but the challenge has been a regular verification of compliance with bylaws and codes.
The proposal would be incorporated into the fire inspection program and be funded on a user-pay basis.
“The program would provide common sense, risk-based provisions to ensure those vacant commercial and industrial properties which represent a relatively low hazard or potential for non-compliance are subject to less frequent inspections,” said Tate Bengtson, chief administrative officer, in a report.
The prevelence of vacant buildings is negatively impacting the economy.
“Businesses want to come to town to rent and there are spots available but the places are shuttered,” said Coun. Tundra Baird.
“A lot of them are painted up on the outside and you don’t know what’s going on inside.”
The push to deal with empty storefronts comes at the same time that the city is looking at beautifying Cliff Avenue.
“We have a vision about redoing the business centre and to have vacant buildings can create challenges,” said Shishido.