New strategy for vacant, unsafe properties
A Coordinated Safety Response Team (CSRT) strategy for illegal residential grow operations has been applied to unoccupied, derelict properties this year. The approach requires owners of these homes to secure, fence and put up signage as part of a Municipal Government Act (MGA) order.
The owners of a fire-damaged property located at 723 McDougall Rd. N.E. obtained a demolition permit as directed by an MGA order. Owners of the vacant, derelict properties located at 824 and 826 McDougall Rd. N.E. were issued MGA orders directing them to secure and fence their properties. The owners have complied and have agreed to demolish the two properties. The City’s Safety Response Unit, acting as lead investigative team of the CSRT, will continue to work with the owners until all three demolitions are complete.
A CSRT sign must be attached to the fence to allow community members to report suspicious activity, breaches and to receive information about the status of the property.
“We implemented this change on March 6 because some owners do not act responsibly and safely without an official MGA order,” says CSRT coordinator Wayne Brown. “They often create a risk to the community and a risk to any firefighter, police officer or bylaw officer who attends an emergency or incident at these properties.”
To date in 2017, the CSRT has issued 15 MGA orders to owners of vacant, derelict properties directing them to secure, fence and to either demolish or fix the homes within a set timeline. It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that they do not create an unsafe condition for community members and first responders.
“The management of vacant, derelict properties is an issue not only in Calgary, but for many cities,” says Brown. “CSRT is recognized as a leader in the safe management of these types of homes and have provided our expertise to Edmonton, Airdrie, Regina, Saskatchewan and St. John, New Brunswick.”
The CSRT was formed in 2011 and is designed to act quickly, responding to incidents and helping to ensure public safety around unsafe buildings, illegal residential marihuana grow operations and construction sites. Members of the CSRT conduct joint reviews, inspections and investigations of these sites, and include:
- The City of Calgary: Safety Response Unit
- The City of Calgary: Calgary Community Standards
- Calgary Police Service
- ALERT - Green Team South
- Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN)
- Alberta Health Services
To learn more about CSRT initiatives, visit calgary.ca/safetyresponseunit.