Pubdate: Wed, 19 Apr 2006
Source: Esquimalt News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Esquimalt News
Author: Cam McCulloch


(Re Police officer urges bylaw change, Esquimalt News, April 12, 2006.)

Const. Brad Fraser and his colleagues are to be commended for their  
efforts in ridding this community of grow-ops, meth labs, and other  
undesirable elements.

However, Fraser's proposal to download cleanup costs on landlords is  
another wave in a "blame the victim" trend prevalent among police  
services and politicians. In the past, we've heard repeated calls to  
fine businessmen and private property owners for failing to dedicate  
precious time and resources toward cleaning up after graffiti criminals.

No matter how vigilant a landlord is, unscrupulous renters will slip  
by. The unwitting landlords who have their homes turned into drug  
labs already face costs that can be in the tens of thousands of  
dollars - sometimes to the point of demolition of the house. None of  
these costs are covered by insurance, since insurance policies do not  
indemnify against damage wrought by renters/tenants. Forcing these  
homeowners to pay a user fee for firefighters, police, and health  
officials is unfair. We don't charge drivers a user fee to call  
police to an accident scene. Nor do we charge pet owners a user fee  
to call firefighters to a backyard fire. In fact, I was under the  
impression that the outrageous property taxes levied in the Greater  
Victoria area were supposed to pay for these services.

If landlords are forced to check daily to ensure their homes have not  
been turned into drug labs - and are made to shoulder an oversized  
financial burden in the event of a cleanup - the end result will be  
that zero single-family dwellings will be available for rent and the  
only rental accommodations will be apartments and illegal suites. Is  
this our solution to a citywide housing shortage?

Cam McCulloch, Esquimalt
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