Kelowna taxpayers will pay to handle complaints on provincially owned lands

City paying for BC's mess

Kelowna's mayor had some harsh words for the provincial government over what he calls the further downloading of costs onto the city and its taxpayers.

Colin Basran took issue with a request by city staff for a Crown tenure on a piece of land on Hollywood Road South which has been the subject of numerous complaints regarding campers and squatters over the past 14 months.

"While the land (2015 Hollywood Road S.) is owned by the Crown, the province is unable to take direct enforcement action, citing lack of resources," property management manager Joanne Adamson said in her presentation to council Monday.

In essence, she says, the city is seeking the Crown tenure to allow the city to mitigate further trespassing on the property.

Basran underscored the fact the province doesn't have the resources to take enforcement action on its own property, "citing a lack of resources."

"It just highlights to me again the importance of a new fiscal relationship with the province and municipalities, because this downloading continues," said Basran.

"It's just another example of the continuous downloading on municipalities, hence the reason we have to make this our responsibility, which is frustrating.

"Not to mention the pressure it puts on our RCMP and bylaw to enforce."

Coun. Maxine DeHart says she has had calls about the Hollywood Road property for a number of months and was not aware it was provincial lands.

"I don't think the public knows that we have this little piece of land in the middle of our city not owned by us," she said.

"People think it does belong to us and it is our problem because it is in the middle of our city."

As for who pays for enforcement once the city obtains the Crown tenure, Basran says it will be the taxpayer.

"I don't envision us sending an invoice to the province for this.

"It would be nice if we could, but this is the reason why we continue to lobby for things such as complex care and supportive housing because that is the appropriate place for these individuals to be staying where they can get the help they need."

More Kelowna News