The house at the corner of St. Anne Avenue and 223rd Street has been a headache for its owners and the area of Port Haney, following its third drug raid and arrests in less than a year.
Two Maple Ridge councillors, though, share the mayor’s appreciation of the challenges facing council colleague Al Hogarth, who manages the property.
Mayor Ernie Daykin said earlier this week that it’s not easy managing property and bad tenants can get into buildings.
Hogarth is an awkward spot, says Coun. Mike Morden, pointing out that people are used to doing their drug deals out of the house and will keep returning.
“We can just continue to have police deal with it on an ongoing basis. It’s an ongoing problem and until that building is redone, it’s probably not going to go away.”
Council could discuss the issue if there were enough complaints about it. The building could be vacated and boarded up, but even that requires special insurance and runs the risk of people entering illegally.
“It’s a tough position he’s in, a tough spot.”
However, because the old home will be renovated under a heritage agreement with the District of Maple Ridge and restored as part of a new condo complex on the three corner lots, the house can’t be just torn out.
Morden said gentrification of the area is also underway and there are many such houses in Maple Ridge.
“We have made homeless all those dealers that were sitting at Northumberland [Court].”
That complex was razed in the fall of 2011.
Coun. Bob Masse wonders if the Crime Free Multi-Housing program, which sets certain building maintenance standards, could be applied to single family homes, which are often used as holding properties awaiting redevelopment.
Masse said he raised the house as an issue when the state of downtown was discussed last summer.
But he agreed with Hogarth that the Residential Tenancy Act makes it difficult to get rid of problem tenants.
“It’s ridiculously hard to force them to comply, because the Residential Tenancy Act puts a whole bunch of roadblocks in front of just kicking them out.” Even with eviction orders, tenants just refuse to leave, he added.
Masse, though, said there’s no sentiment on council for blaming Hogarth.
“I’m sure it’s something that he’s aware of and it doesn’t sit well with him.”