No name and shame registry for delinquent property owners

City staff shot down a proposed name and shame list of delinquent property owners, citing the massive cost of monitoring a relatively small number of vacant buildings.

Edmonton councillors adopt new plan for addressing vacant commercial buildings

The Stony Plain Business Revitalization Zone would like to see derelict and neglected buildings like this to be taxed at a higher rate. (Silvana Benolich/CBC)

City staff have shot down a proposed name-and-shame list of delinquent property owners, citing the massive cost of monitoring a relatively small number of vacant commercial buildings in Edmonton. 

In a report prepared for Wednesday's meeting of the community services committee, administration said the approach would cost $250,000 to $500,000 to set up registry for only 25  to 50 problem properties, out of about 1,000 full or partly vacant commercial sites. 

Instead, councillors approved a pilot project to have business associations and other community organizations create a list of derelict properties, and assign one by-law officer to monitor those problem properties.

Associations like the Stony Plain Business Revitalization Zone said derelict buildings limit neighbourhood improvement. They said owners often sit on vacant and derelict properties, as there is no financial incentive for them to fix them up. 

The new plan would not require any extra money or resources. City staff will report back in the first quarter of 2016.

Councillors will have more power to deal with delinquent and vacant buildings if new tax powers are approved under the Municipal Government Act negotiations with the province.

Administration recommended charging a vacant building tax, or a higher tax rate on those commercial properties, which is not allowed under the current rules.

Mayor Don Iveson signed a framework for the new big city charter on Oct. 7. Negotiations will the province are expected to wrap up in 2016.

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