Ron Bolin, Sept. 3, 2017

          The District of West Kelowna has a bylaw for dealing with vacant and abandoned buildings such as the old A&B Sound building at 1 Commercial Street, which is debatably the centre of downtown Nanaimo and is impossible for those transiting through Nanaimo proper to miss. I have written elsewhere about this property and its deleterious effect on our downtown, (see Note 4 at

https://nanaimocityhall.com/2017/07/13/nanaimo-notes/  )

observing that this building not only is, and has been for a number of years, derelict at some serious cost to downtown amenities while remaining at very little cost to the owners who last year paid approximately $124 for keeping the derelict structure which was assessed at $20,000 and taxed on only $10,000 due to the general grant given to all commercial property.  Thus the improvements on this central property represent only 5.6% of the land value and the taxes paid on it represent only 2.8% of that value. A call to BC Assessment indicated that the assessed value of the building was based on the rat infestation as well as the fact that the building could not be occupied without extensive remediation. It will be noted that the building fails on a several points in West Kelowna’s bylaw…  Why does Nanaimo not have a similar bylaw??

Section 4 of West Kelowna’s bylaw 0192 reads as follows:

“4.1 No person shall allow a building to stand vacant and abandoned for more than 30 days unless the person is in compliance with Section 3.3 of this Bylaw or one of the following applies:

  1. a) The building is the subject of an active building permit for repair, rehabilitation, or demolition, and the owner is progressing diligently to complete the repair, rehabilitation, or demolition; and, the owner is complying with the Maintenance Standards required under Schedule “B” of this Bylaw while the building is being repaired, rehabilitated or demolished.
  2. b) The building meets all applicable codes, is ready for occupancy and is actively

being offered for sale, lease, or rent at fair market value. The building is to be

supplied with minimum utilities to maintain the proper functioning of the facilities as well as to prevent damage to mechanical and plumbing facilities from freezing. Any buildings that are classified to have a fire alarm and/or fire suppression systems must maintain electrical and heating systems to maintain these life safety components. In addition, the owner must also ensure:

  1. i) that all combustible materials within a vacant and abandoned building are removed to reduce any potential fire load; and
  2. ii) there is no illegal occupancy; and

iii) there is no existence of rodents or any other potential health or safety risks to the municipality.

  1. c) The Inspector determines that the building does not constitute a nuisance or hazardous condition requiring building permits for remedial work or demolition. ‘

If you feel that Nanaimo is being short changed, contact Nanaimo’s administration.  This situation has gone on long enough…