A problem house on 20th Street in Courtenay has officially been declared a ‘nuisance property.’

The declaration from City council launches a legally binding process to begin recouping costs for enforcement from the city, RCMP, and fire department, including cost recovery for staff time, vehicles, equipment, and contractors.

The city says the property at 1655 20th Street, owned by Comox resident Amandio Santos, has impacted the surrounding area for some time and has notably gotten worse over the past year. 

Over the past year alone the Comox Valley RCMP has been to the property 52 times for a wide range of calls for service, including drugs, disturbances, fighting, assault, theft, and a variety of other suspicious or criminal activities. 

On March 4th, police reported they raided a house on 20th Street and arrested 19 people.

The investigation was initiated by reports of suspicious and potentially criminal activity going on inside the home and in the area.

“The collaborative effort between the City and RCMP has resulted in significant action to prevent, abate and prohibit further nuisances,” said Inspector Mike Kurvers of the Comox Valley RCMP. 

“Land owners such as Mr. Santos that allow their properties to become a disproportionate burden on the RCMP and City will not be tolerated.”

Moving forward, the city says it intends to use its “full authority under the law” to bring this property into compliance and recover costs through the Nuisance Abatement and Cost Recovery Bylaw, “with the full support of the Comox Valley RCMP.”

Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells said nuisance properties will not be tolerated in the community. 

“The activities at 1655 20th Street have been a serious concern for the neighbourhood, the city, and the greater community for some time. And it affects everyone in our community, regardless of whether you’re in the neighbourhood or not,” Wells said. 

“Responding to the issues caused at just this one location has already cost thousands of hours in staff time plus other related costs. 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. We’re working closely with the RCMP and pursuing all available options to ensure Mr. Santos meets his responsibilities as a landowner.”

The city says it has contacted Santos many times about these issues over several years, culminating with a “Do Not Occupy” notice on the property on March 5th. 

Despite these enforcement actions, people are still living there and the property owner is accumulating daily fines for non-compliance.

For more information on bylaw enforcement in the City of Courtenay, visit www.courtenay.ca/bylaws