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Letters: July 26
Property standards, Art Dunham
Depends on the recipe. Property standards.
One group says they have the right to do whatever they want with their property. Another group says people don't have the right to allow their property to deteriorate to the point where the esthetics negatively
impact tourism, the ability to attract new residents and businesses, and impact neighbours’ property values.
Neither side is unreasonable. Surely there is common ground here?
Also complicating the issue is whether there is a gap between the current bylaw that stresses health and safety and 'esthetics'. The health and safety aspect is often referred to as risk of fire or accident. It deals with rubbish, debris, long grass, timber, scrap material, buildings and fences. The scrap material clause even mentions 'unsightly conditions'.
So the basic question is, does the health and safety aspect limit the ability of the township to address properties that impact tourism, new residents and businesses, and neighbours’ property values?
not sure. Perhaps what is needed is the township to tell us if
there is a gap and
If there is a gap I think tweaking the existing bylaw is all that is needed. Perhaps add 'unsightly conditions' to all the clauses since it's in one already.
We need to quit hiding behind health and safety and acknowledge the people's real concern - 'esthetics'. Can the existing bylaw not simply be extended to say that it always applies to health and safety concerns but may also apply to properties where the esthetics negatively impact tourism, the ability to attract new residents and businesses, and neighbours’ property values? If you live in the country with no close neighbours the bylaw doesn't apply, as there is no impact. However if the property is in downtown Sharbot Lake or some other built up community then it is more likely that the property may be impacting the three areas.
If we do not acknowledge that those three areas are important then we take the wind out of the sails of all the individuals and volunteers who are working hard to make our township more attractive to tourists, individuals and business. We all benefit from the economics if we are successful. It is easy to lose a good reputation and hard to build one.
We need the township council and staff to be leaders and display their skill at communication and facilitation; to find
and convey that middle ground so we as a township of neighbours can make the right decision. Otherwise there will be passionate debate on both sides and at the end of day we will get the status quo – which isn't acceptable to many, as that is how this got started in the first place.
Township council, staff, it is your time to shine, or not.