Property standards key to town’s economic growth

When I moved to Napanee back in 2015 I was astounded at the beauty of parks, green spaces, the river walk and the lovely gardens belonging not only to the town but homeowners.

The gutters were clean and the garden debris picked up. The merchants had flowers outside their premises and baskets of flowers hung from lamp posts. Throughout the town were well kept gracious old homes and buildings. But really what blew me away was when I discovered the fairgrounds with geraniums growing from the old tree stumps! But I digress….

However as I became more familiar with the town I saw eyesores that detract from the town’s fundamental beauty. Once gracious old homes in a state of neglect, flaking paint, sagging eves, collapsing porches, abandoned buildings, garbage flying about, boarded up buildings, weeds and little trees sprouting on old parking lots.

All of this was in the centre of town which left me wondering what the rest of town was like.

So one year after I arrived. I wrote a letter to the town council outlining what I had seen and subsequent concerns. Nothing happened. Weeds still sprouted, paint still peeled off and the houses continued to deteriorate. I waited another year and when nothing much happened, I again wrote a letter.

This time I was asked to join a small group of very concerned citizens. This was a subcommittee of the Napanee Ratepayers Association.

Napanee has so much going for it…good rail service, close to a major highway, next to a university town, beautiful countryside, close to Lake Ontario, farmers markets and excellent health care. So why is the town’s potential not being maximized?

After much research and discussion it all boiled down to the Property Standards Act not being maintained thus it becomes an economic issue…Why economic? Well, if a new comer interested in perhaps moving to Napanee comes to town and sees broken down buildings, boarded up shacks, weedy parking lots, paint flaking off they will not be too keen in investing. If someone has a nice house with well kept grounds has a neighbor who has junk laying about, weeds sprouting everywhere and a falling down garage, that will lower property values and who

wants that?

Until recently there was little visible action on situations like these but since the hire of the director of development services and the Gibbard announcement things are starting to move. So by partnering with town hall and talking with our neighbors, let us continue to uphold the Property Standards Act and those who do not be made aware of the Act and the subsequent ramifications.

Gloria M. Alcock

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