Local property owner Joe Sinicrope is unhappy with a compliance order he received from the city.
One of Sinicrope’s properties at the corner of Ferguson Street and Third Avenue was the site of an apparent camp set up by homeless people.
Sinicrope says about a week-and-a-half ago, he and his wife noticed some garbage and debris near the street of the property, which they cleaned up at the time. Sinicrope was also notified by Kate Valiquette of HOPE’s outreach of a homeless camp set up, which she assured was dealt with.
On Tuesday, Sinicrope received a compliance order to clean up his property under the Clean Yards Bylaw.
“What am I supposed to do? Knock on the tent and ask them to leave?” Sinicrope questioned.
However, Ron Melnyk, the city’s Bylaw Enforcement Coordinator and the person who issued the compliance order says that he did not see a homeless camp when he inspected the area.
“A complaint was received and upon inspection, we found that there were a number of items spread across the property and there was an ordinance issued. The same situation would have happened to any other property,” Melnyk explained.
The Clean Yards by-law states that residential yards be well maintained without any garbage or debris visible from the street.
When Sinicrope showed the media the property in question, a makeshift shelter could be seen, along with evidence of campfires.
“I don’t have a problem with cleaning up, what I have a problem with is that a person is living here. Where does this person go after I get the police to throw him out? What is the city of North Bay doing about this?” Sinicrope said.
Melnyk says that if he did see homeless people on the property during the investigation, then the outcome may have been different.
“That may have been a situation where we would have worked with them,” he noted.
But Melnyk also adds this is not an isolated incident.
“We’ve had a number of places that we’ve had to deal with in regards to homelessness on private property and the complaint is usually for garbage or junk accumulated,” he said.
Under the compliance order, Sinicrope has five days to clean up his property before a fine is laid.
“There’s a homeless problem in this city and the city is doing nothing about it except they’re putting it on the backs of taxpayers in this city. I find that to be a slap in the face,” Sinicrope said. “Am I going to be coming again next week to clean it up again?”
Homelessness has been on the rise in North Bay in recent months, with demonstrations and marches being organized calling on the city to do more.