Prince Albert looking to City of Edmonton for inspiration in dealing with boarded up properties

Prince Albert city council has taken the first step towards possibly creating new laws that would see property owners pay a $1,600 minimum property tax for not beginning repairs within three to four months of boarding up a property.

Council voted unanimously at Monday’s regular meeting to have administration prepare a report with options on how best to address “boarded up nuisance properties” in the City. Administration was instructed to include two options. The first would require property owners to have a permit before boarding up a house. The second would see property owners hit with an extra tax for not repairing the house.

Coun. Blake Edwards brought the motion forward at Monday’s meeting. Edwards said there are too many boarded up houses in Prince Albert, and it’s hurting the community’s image.

“It’s crazy,” Edwards said during the meeting. “They’re left there, and it looks terrible. We can do better as a community.”

Edwards wants Prince Albert to following the City of Edmonton’s lead in cracking down on derelict properties. In October, Edmonton approved a new tax on derelict homes, then added 203 properties to the tax class following assessments in February, according to the CBC.

Edwards said there are too many property owners in Prince Albert who seem to think it’s cheaper to just board up a home and leave it instead of renovating or tearing it down.

He described what’s left as an eye-sore.

“It holds the value down of every house around it, and we need to do something about it. Is this the perfect answer? I’m not sure. I don’t know if $1,600 even needs to be there, but it’s a start.”

Coun. Dawn Kilmer seconded Edwards’ motion. She said the permit approach would allow the city to have a list of properties that were boarded up. She also liked the idea of looking into how Edmonton was handling the situation.

“I’m not quite sure what we need to do, but this is a good start,” she said.

Mayor Greg Dionne also supported the motion. Dionne said Edmonton’s bylaw might not be a perfect fit for Prince Albert, but it at least provided a good basis for council and administration.

“It certainly gives us the idea and the forethought instead of coming up with a new one,” he said during the meeting.

@kerr_jas •