377 winnipeg eviction

Tenants of the notorious 377 Winnipeg St. comfort each other while bylaw services supervisor Tina Siebert looks on during their eviction in 2018. 

Time is running out for a derelict house in downtown Penticton.

City council on Tuesday approved a staff proposal to give Malvinder Randhawa, the owner of 377 Winnipeg St., until Dec. 31 to pay all outstanding fines and demolish the residence under threat of court action.

“It’s long overdue and I can’t wait for it to be done. Consider it an early Christmas present from council to the city,” said Coun. Katie Robinson.

The tough talk didn’t stop there, with Coun. Judy Sentes railing against Randhawa and his “blatant disrespect” for neighbours and the community at large.

Sentes also suggested the deadline for demolition be moved up to Nov. 31.

“I absolutely see your sense of urgency,” replied bylaw services supervisor Tina Siebert, “but the Community Charter outlines the timelines for us, so we’re following that. (But), yeah, as soon as those timelines are up, I’m absolutely on it.”

Siebert said the rental property has been the subject of 68 bylaw complaints, ranging from noises and dogs to unsightliness, since 2012. It was finally boarded up in August 2018.

Since then, Randhawa, has done nothing to clean up the property or pay the city the $5,650 he owes in fines and fees.

If he fails to act by Dec. 31, the city will then seek a court order to have the house torn down, with the costs added to the property’s tax bill.

The property was valued at $391,000 as of July 2018 by BC Assessment.

It’s not the first time the city has tangled with Randhawa over his properties. He also had to be forced to take action to clean up a fire-damaged home on Bassett Street in 2012, and in 2014 was forced to shut down a rooming house in the former Three Gables Hotel due to fire safety concerns.

Siebert said there are “a few more” such nuisance properties on her team’s radar, and a new Good Neighbour Bylaw enforcement policy approved by council in September is helping speed up the process of dealing with them.