Council approves 20 recommendations

The Public Safety Inspection Program review contains three main sections and 20 recommendations which were adopted by council and will be phased in over the next few months.The three components are moving forward with public safety inspections, past practices, and notices on title.The review poses many questions and work is still needed, said Mission’s deputy chief administrative officer, Paul Gipps, who authored the document after gathering input from community members, legal counsel, and other municipalities.One of the changes council needs to explore is whether or not a full-time team is still required. With fewer properties being flagged based on high hydro consumption, it is recommended the program use a part-time team with in-house resources, and employ specialists when necessary.Council members also have to decide whether to continue with a financially self-supporting program, or provide it as a taxation-funded service, said Gipps.A part-time crew would incur less costs, and would reduce the current $5,200 fee to homeowners whose properties contain evidence of a marijuana grow operation. The new charge will be looked at as part of the review.The report also states the district has to communicate better with the public about the program, and the owner and resident of the property up for inspection.There is a perception the district is looking for grow ops, but examiners are probing for safety issues, said Gipps. The charge is only levied against homes being used for controlled substances because of the associated safety and health issues. The municipality has hired a public relations company to help bring the message to the community.Team members also need to do a better job of contacting someone in the house instead of posting a notice on the front door for the whole neighbourhood to see.A review process is also proposed in the report.“It’s something we haven’t done before,” said Gipps, noting if the property inspection and outcome are not satisfactory, homeowners can ask for an administrative review, not performed by the inspectors.A assessment into the controversial program began Jan. 24 when council deferred all PSIT-led home inspections.The report was released last Friday and the district wants public input before April 11 when staff will begin preparing the next steps for council’s consideration.A full copy of the review is available on the district’s website at www.mission.ca.