Resident takes aim at township

Unsightly yard prompts neighbour to take issue with Spallumcheen

He lodged a complaint over a neighbour’s unsightly yard to the Township of Spallumcheen.

Dennis Kontos wrote a letter to council and addressed them in person Monday night at Spallumcheen’s regular meeting to express his dissatisfaction for “the lack of or unwillingness of the municipality and regional district to deal with our neighbour’s yard.”

“Over the past two years we had been dealing with the condition of their yard’s cleanliness,” wrote Kontos.

“There was garbage, diapers, furniture spewed all over, and their sewage system saturated leaving large bodies of water in certain areas of the yard and adjacent land, including my property.”

In the spring of 2011, Kontos said he called the township office to get them involved and “deal with the mess.”

“I was told they would send a letter to the homeowner, but as for the sewer matter, I needed to discuss it with the regional health district,” said Kontos.

Despite the township’s bylaw officer issuing fines and positive test results for high levels of sewage, the yard was never cleaned up.

Kontos said despite his continuous calls to the municipal office and the regional district, nothing was done in terms of enforcement.

“It seemed to us that the present laws lacked any teeth other than giving out fines,” wrote Kontos. “So what is the point of my tax dollar going to pay for a bylaw officer? We are the victim and all I got was the feeling of ‘please go away.’”

Coun. Todd York believes the issue involved an angry renter and an eviction process that took far too long.

York wondered if there was something that could have been done while the eviction process of the tenant was ongoing.

“There was concern voiced not only by our staff but from other levels of authority that we shouldn’t be sending people over there and I think it’s a weak excuse,” said York.

“We have to be able to look at our bylaws and in a situation when we have an uncooperative renter drawing out an eviction process, deliberately causing trouble in a neighbourhood, what authority do we have and what can we do for the property owner.”

While Kontos said the situation had been going on for four years, he only started writing and calling the township office in 2011. However, Coun. Christine Fraser said Monday’s in-person presentation and accompanying letter was the first she’d heard about the issue.

“I think complaints like that have to come to council so all members know what’s going on,” said Fraser.

“I was a little bit surprised it’s been going on this long. If there’s an issue like that, we can get the RCMP involved, and supervise while people go in and do clean up.”

Council agreed to send Kontos’ letter to its committee of the whole for further discussion.