PORT AUX BASQUES – The town’s increasing rat problem can make living close to an unkempt property more worrisome than just lowering property values.
Like most municipalities, Port aux Basques has drafted regulations and by-laws in order to regulate and even enforce developments and properties so that they don’t become eyesores or attract pests.
The relevant acts, available for viewing via the town’s website, are the Occupancy and Maintenance Regulations and the Garbage Regulations. These bylaws enforce compliance and outline rules when it comes to property conditions and rules for town homeowners.
One of the problems facing Port aux Basques when it comes to tackling the increasing number of rats is that seaside communities and natural harbours historically tend to attract them. And while the town does call in a pest control company for help, Town Manager Leon MacIsaac states that Port aux Basques has neither the equipment nor the trained personnel to deal with the rodents.
“It is the responsibility of every resident to ensure that properties are kept clean of debris and animal feces, mow tall grasses that provide hiding places, garbage is not left unattended, collection bins are kept clean so that issues are kept to a minimum,” wrote MacIsaac via e-mail. “While the Town does address rodent issues on all public property, it is the residents’ responsibility to address private rodent issues.”
MacIsaac admits that the town regularly receives complaints from property owners whose neighbours have unsightly property, and those complaints are investigated to determine what, if any, follow up action is required.
The town may choose to issue an Order for Compliance, and a property owner receiving a compliance order will have a set time in order to ensure they meet the standards required. If the property owner does not meet conditions in time, the town may also choose to rectify any issues entirely at the owner’s expense.
But just reaching that point can be a lengthy process, which may leave adjacent property owners feeling frustrated.
“A property owner has a right to appeal the Order to the regional Appeal Board. This process can be time consuming with frequent delays. If an appeal is filed the Town cannot enforce the Order until the appeal board makes a decision,” wrote MacIsaac.
Alternatively, the town may circumvent the process by reaching agreements with property owners instead.
“The Town acquired the Lukey’s Boat property through an agreement with the former owner. The building, due to age, structural and electrical issues, was in a state of disrepair that would take considerable funding to make repairs and bring to appropriate standards,” explained MacIsaac.
Once the town acquired the property, the decision was made to remove the structure and incorporate the land itself as additional space for the the Scott’s Cove area as part of the Downtown Revitalization Development Plan.
MacIsaac says the plan for the space has yet to be finalized but the hope is to provide extra parking, landscaping and open space amenities for town residents.