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District forces trailer park clean up

Port Edward council briefs, including enforcing unsightly bylaw on Stonecliff Properties

The District of Port Edward is moving ahead to enforce its clean, neat and green motto.

After the most recent fire at the trailer park, chief administrative officer Bob Payette informed council on July 11 that the district is going to impose its “unsightly premises bylaw” on Stonecliff Properties’ land.

Payette cited safety concerns including fires, abandoned vehicles and debris flying around as to why they are stepping in to force a clean up.

“We’re at the point where we can enforce bylaw, which includes ordering the property owner to clean up their property within a certain set of time. Failure to do that our bylaw permits the municipality to do it,” he said.

The bylaw states that the municipality may have public works staff or contracted employees enter and clear the area at the expense of the owner. If the charges are unpaid by Dec. 31 then it will be added to the owner’s property taxes.

The trailer park is a short walk from the Port Edward Elementary School and the municipal office and has been considered an eye-sore since May 2016 when council added removing trailers off the property to its action item list.

Stonecliff Properties began to dismantle the trailers in March 2016, but then a lawsuit halted the process and the owner, Victoria Beattie, has been tied up in the Provincial Supreme Court.

But as the months pass, the situation continues to deteriorate. Port Edward’s volunteer fire department responded to a fire at the trailer park on June 15 when two trailers caught fire, and another trailer burned down in April.

“I’m very worried about the firemen and the crew going in there and the propane tanks and other things that can blow up just sitting in a building that’s already ruined,” Mayor Dave MacDonald said at the July 11 meeting.

“Safety is a huge part and that’s my biggest concern,” councillor Dan Franzen echoed.

Harbourview parking solution

Fishing season is in full swing, and the boat launches on the North Coast are seeing an overflow in parking areas.

By Porpoise Harbour, cars that can’t get into the paid parking area are parking on the grass at the end of Harbourview Drive. Rather than block access to harbour users the district plans to remove the grass to widen the parking area.

“I was thinking if we took the grass out of the one area and put it so they can park up there, the people who can’t get in the paid parking, that it would save us hollering at people for being on the grass,” Mayor Dave MacDonald said, adding that the district will add signage as well.

In Prince Rupert, parking is also a headache for some users, including Alvin Bolton, who sent a letter to the editor complaining about congestion at Rushbrook.

“I’ve seen trucks and trailers parked everywhere down there and in places where they shouldn’t be parked, I’ve seen truck campers parked down there for the weekend,” he said in the letter.

In response, corporate administrator Rory Mandryk said, “The city is looking at various opportunities to improve the parking situation, both on user education as well as enforcement improvements.”

Communication improvements

At the last council meeting on June 27, two residents attended to voice their concerns about the smoke coming from Ridley Island and the lack of communication on the matter.

“We’ll look at our site and we’ll try to keep better information on what’s going on,” Mayor Dave MacDonald said, after admitting he has heard that the district’s website is not up to date.

Council committed to improve communicating through its website, which is more effective than the community newsletter, which is only delivered to 109 of 465 residents who accept ad mail.

Red Cross donation for B.C. wildfires

The district expressed sympathies for the municipalities in the province affected by the wildfires.

The mayor cancelled a trip to Prince George for a North Central Local Government Association meeting stating that the hotel rooms are needed for the evacuees.

Wildfires in the Williams Lake area directly impacted Councillor Grant Moore’s family. Council discussed that Moore’s uncle, who once lived in Prince Rupert, lost his home in the fires.

“There’s a lot of people in trouble there,” the mayor said.

Council passed a motion to give $1,000 to Red Cross.