Greater Napanee nixes greater public input on property standards

Adam Prudhomme
Beaver Staff

Concerns over property standards will remain the town’s responsibility for the immediate future.

Greater Napanee council voted to keep their current system in place at their last council meeting, choosing to reject a motion put forward by councillor Carol Harvey which supported the notion of forming a new committee with citizen input.

Instead the town will continue to operate with its own committee, made of the elected members of council and the town’s bylaw enforcement staff.

The idea of a citizen- formed committee was presented to council last month as members of the public expressed disappointment over properties in town they felt weren’t being properly maintained. They noted that these buildings both negatively affected the town’s reputation as well as the property values of the houses around them.

Chief administrative officer Ray Callery expressed optimism that the town was now better equipped to handle those issues now that they’ve hired Michael Nobes as director of development services, filling a position that had been vacant for two years. He also added that the town’s communication intern, Brianna Clement, was also on hand to help increase awareness of property standards through social media.

Callery also noted that compliance for most property standard complaints already have a high compliance rate.

“I think that we have all those things covered in our current process without another group over seeing it,” councillor Roger Cole said, expressing his support for keeping things the way they were compared to forming a new property standards committee. “I don’t think we need another layer.”

Councillor Shaune Lucas said he was originally in favour of Harvey’s motion until he learned that council already has the authority to bring property standard committee concerns filed by citizens to the attention of the bylaw officers. He says that may encourage residents who otherwise might not want to have their name attached to a complaint to reach out to a councillor.

“I have some concerns about citizens sitting on something like this at this point,” said deputy mayor Marg Isbester. “I don’t want to see it lost. But I can’t support it until we’ve given what we’ve got a chance.”

Isbester noted that should the issue continue to be a problem, she’d like to see it brought up again during the next council term.

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