Winnipeg mayor announces new measures to crack down on vacant and derelict buildings
The City of Winnipeg may soon have new measures to crack down on vacant and derelict buildings in the city.
On Tuesday, Mayor Scott Gillingham and councillors Sherri Rollins, John Orlikow and Cindy Gilroy announced two reports that provide recommendations aimed at getting vacant building owners to better secure their properties or tear them down.
The proposed measures would increase enforcement, expedite demolition, and incentivize building owners to respond to city orders related to vacant and derelict properties.
“We want to see changes to the conditions of vacant and derelict buildings,” Gillingham said.
“We want to improve our neighbourhoods, reduce neighbourhood blight and get these properties redeveloped so that we can establish the housing that is really, really needed.”
The proposed measures include stricter security requirements for problematic vacant buildings, including the use of higher-grade boarding materials, security fences, cameras, and security patrols.
The reports also suggest giving out non-compliant inspections fees to incentivize building owners to follow city orders; working with bylaw officers to identify problematic vacant buildings; and making a list of problematic vacant buildings available on Winnipeg’s open data portal.
The proposed initiatives also involve amendments to the Development Procedures Bylaw to expedite the process of demolition permits. The changes would allow the property department director to approve residential demolitions where there is no building permit and without going through a public hearing process.
Orlikow added the city is also looking at hiring four new bylaw officers to address the issue. The fees collected from the non-compliant fines would help pay for these new officers.
“The plan going forward is not to leave a building empty, not to leave it vacant, not to leave it unsecured,” he said.
Earlier this year, the city started charging vacant building owners for fire response services following a slew of fires at vacant homes. A motion was also put forward at city hall to get the debris from demolitions cleaned up faster by charging property owners to clear up the mess.
The city’s property committee will vote on the recommendations next week.
The full reports can be found online.
-With files from CTV’s Jeff Keele
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