Courtenay to collect fines for notorious 'nuisance property'

RCMP in the Comox Valley say several arrests have been made after a warrant was executed on a home in the 1600 block of 20th Street in Courtenay Thursday afternoon. (CTV)

The City of Courtenay has declared a residential home a "nuisance property," to help the city recoup costs for emergency services that are sent to the residence.

The municipality says the property, located on 20th Street, has been "negatively affecting the surrounding area for some time," especially over the past year.

Through its nuisance abatement and cost recovery bylaw, the city says it will be able to fine the building's owner to recover costs for police enforcement.

"The activities at 1655 20th St. have been a serious concern for the neighbourhood, the city, and the greater community for some time," said Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells in a statement Thursday.

"(It) affects everyone in our community, regardless of whether you’re in the neighbourhood or not," he said. "Responding to the issues caused at just this one location has already cost thousands of hours in staff time plus other related costs."

People who live in the area have often complained about the property. In March, RCMP arrested 19 people at the home on a range of charges.

"The home for some time has been the subject of lots of different police reports regarding some drug trafficking, property offenses, disturbances, that sort of thing," said Comox Valley RCMP Const. Monika Terragni on March 4.

She said at the time that RCMP understand the frustration that neighbours have voiced to them about the home.

"We really want to thank the area residents who have been reporting their concerns to the RCMP and the city, because these reports have been essential in helping target enforcement measures," said the city's mayor on Thursday.

Over the past year, RCMP have been called to the property 52 times for calls related to assault, theft and drug trafficking, according to the city.

The municipality says that on March 5, the building's owner, Amandio Santos of Comox, was served a "do not occupy" notice for the property.

Under the city's nuisance abatement and cost recovery bylaw, property owners can be fined up to $10,000 for nuisance activities, and additional fines can be served if a nuisance is considered ongoing for multiple days.

"The collaborative effort between the city and RCMP has resulted in significant action to prevent, abate and prohibit further nuisances," said Insp. Mike Kurvers of the Comox Valley RCMP in a statement Thursday.

"Landowners such as Mr. Santos that allow their properties to become a disproportionate burden on the RCMP and city will not be tolerated," he said.