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Letter: Why is West Vancouver letting these waterfront 'eyesores' stay vacant?

Council's inactivity reflects poorly on all of us.
The proprieties at 2660 Bellevue Ave. (top photo) and 3742 Marine Dr. in West Vancouver sit vacant.

Dear Editor:

What is wrong with District of West Vancouver council, that it continues to allow two high-profile waterfront properties to sit vacant, deteriorating for the past five years?

Council is well aware of these two eyesores, at 3742 Marine Dr. and 2660 Bellevue Ave., and yet is doing little to ensure the owners comply with district bylaws to clean up these disgusting properties.

The site at 3742 Marine consists of a partially built concrete shell surrounded by bits of wood scaffolding, discarded propane tanks, rubble and other debris.

Every day, hundreds of people go by this highly visible site; no construction activity has taken place here for about five years and yet it remains derelict.

Years ago, a building inspector found numerous non-conforming construction transgressions on the property -- and work was ordered to be ceased. The owner, who is a senior project manager with a large development company, should have known better than to build without proper municipal approvals.

At the time of the shutdown, several councillors expressed concerns about undue hardship to the owner due to the delay caused by the stop-work order as well as the additional cost and time of variance application and approval, when clearly this owner brought it upon himself by disregarding the rules all citizens are expected to respect and follow. Over a year ago, the North Shore News ran an article about this contentious property. In that article, a council member said they were being "played for fools" by its owner.

And yet here we are, another year later, and the partially built structure still stands. As construction is not proceeding, whatever has been built to date, should be removed by the district at the owner's expense.

A similar situation exists at 2660 Bellevue. This property consists of a partially burnt house, that has also sat vacant for five years, becoming an attractive hovel for squatters and vermin, helping to lower the value of properties around it. Apparently there was an order to demolish the house months ago, but there has been no action taken to date. Why not?

Both of these properties continue to be a disgrace and embarrassment to the taxpayers who do obey the law. The community deserves better. Non-conforming construction and damaged structures need to be removed and the properties cleaned up.

Council needs to stop pandering to property owners who flout regulations.

Council's inactivity reflects poorly on all of us.

As a longtime West Van resident, I too am tired of having been "played for a fool" first by fellow citizens and now feet-dragging politicians.

Peter Grainger
West Vancouver

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