Port cracking down on junk cars

  • Oct. 21, 2009 5:00 p.m.

Port Clements plans to root out all derelict vehicles in the village in an effort to make the town’s appearance more appealing. Village council voted Monday night (Oct. 19) to offer financial assistance to residents who take junked cars and trucks to the landfill. Council also voted to start enforcing a bylaw banning vehicles that have been unlicensed for more than a year, unless they are kept in a garage or carport. Council members have long been concerned about the number of derelict vehicles in town, but were unsure what to do about the problem because there was no way for people to get rid of them. However, the regional district has just recently made room at its landfill site just outside Port. It costs $100 to dispose of a vehicle hulk with fluids, $40 to dispose of a stripped hulk, and $10 to $12 to dispose of tires. Mayor Cory Delves said he could remember the days when he had a favourite junk vehicle, so he can understand how attached some people get to their old cars. It took a “smackdown” from his parents before he finally took it to the dump, he admitted. The local tourism committee has identified the large number of junk vehicles in Port (village staff counted 112 last year) as an issue which troubles many residents and which could be standing in the way of attracting more visitors. The village will be sending out letters to the property owners with known derelicts, offering one-time financial assistance to get the carcasses to the dump and warning that the village intends to enforce its bylaw strictly in the future. Council members said they will see how many people respond before deciding how much financial assistance to offer, but said they are willing to cover at least 50 percent of the cost. Council has $5,800 in its travel and grants budget which it could spend on the derelict project – much of it available because of council’s decision not to send anyone to the Union of BC Municipalities conference in September. According to the village’s bylaw, residents can keep up to four licensed vehicles, one trailer or camper and one boat on a residential property. Unlicensed vehicles must be kept in a garage. A derelict vehicle is defined as a vehicle which has been unlicensed for more than one year and is not in a garage. The bylaw allows the village to remove derelict vehicles at the owner’s expense, and council members said they intend to enforce this bylaw strictly in the future. “Everybody is responsible for carcasses on their property,” said councillor Wally Cheer. “I have a problem with people allowing carcasses to build up on their property. They know it’s wrong.”