British Columbia

Frustrations mount over derelict Penticton, B.C. house

Frustrations are mounting over a rental property in Pentiction, B.C. that's been described as everything from derelict to "a crack house."

Neighbour calls for city to enact new bylaws to deal with problem home

A Google street view image of the rental property at 377 Winnipeg St. in Penticton, B.C., taken in 2016. Neighbours say since then, windows have been smashed and the hydro has been cut off with tenants using kerosene heaters and gas generators. (Google Street View)

Frustrations are mounting over a rental property in Pentiction, B.C. that's been described by a neighbour as everything from derelict to "a crack house."

The City of Penticton has received numerous complaints about drug use at the home from residents concerned about safety in the neighborhood.

This week, those frustrations were aired at city hall by Matt Taylor, the owner of a neighbouring apartment building.

"Your own bylaw people say they won't go on some of these properties without two people," Taylor said.

"What do you do about the people who live beside them? If I was a young lady, or even myself, I'm 65, I weigh 165 pounds. I don't want do deal with these guys."

Neighbour calls for stronger bylaws

Taylor described the building as "essentially uninhabitable" with windows smashed and tenants now using kerosene heaters and gas generators since the hydro was recently shut off.

Taylor brought his concerns about the property to city council in October 2017.

This time he urged the city to develop stronger bylaws and condemn the building.

"[Bylaw officers] just don't have the tools to deal with this," Taylor said.

"I think it's your problem. Other cities have dealt with crack houses. I just don't see what tools you have to deal with a crack house."

Penticton chief administrative officer Peter Weeber said he believes the city's existing bylaws are adequate.

Weeber said the city is doing a number of things to address the problem house, but he said privacy laws prevented him from going into specifics.

"The reality is that we have to follow the process and unfortunately processes take time," he said.

'We are at a loss'

The issue of drug use and nuisance behaviour isn't specific to just the home on Winnipeg Street, Weeber said.

"We are having similar problems throughout the community in the downtown area, all our parks, virtually every quiet corner, all our trails. We are at a loss on how to address it all."

Putting pressure on landlords of derelict properties is one way to bring about a solution, said councillor Judy Sentes in an interview with CBC News.

"We have imposed a system of fines. Every time we have to attend the property, there will be a fine of some consequence," she said.

"This sort of blatant neglect of one's own personal property really is harmful to the city and takes away from the whole neighbourhood. It's truly unfortunate."

CBC News contacted the Penticton RCMP and the owner of the rental property but has yet to hear back.


Brady Strachan

CBC Reporter

Brady Strachan is a CBC reporter based in Kelowna, B.C. Besides Kelowna, Strachan has covered stories for CBC News in Winnipeg, Brandon, Vancouver and internationally. Follow his tweets @BradyStrachan