Calgary task force to clean up vacant, unsafe properties

Calgary firefighters battle a fire in the 700 block of McDougall Road N.E. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. Global News

Derelict properties will no longer be tolerated in Calgary, thanks to a new initiative introduced by the city on Monday.

The strategy — in which owners of the properties put up signage as part of a Municipal Government Act (MGA) order — will see vacant properties secured and demolished, or fixed within a set timeline.

“We implemented this change on March 6 because some owners do not act responsibly and safely without an official MGA order,” said Coordinated Safety Response Team (CSRT) coordinator Wayne Brown.

“They often create a risk to the community and a risk to any firefighter, police officer or bylaw officer who attends an emergency or incident at these properties.”

The CSRT usually focuses on illegal residential grow operations, but there have already been several incidents this year, prompting the change.

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Three homes have been ordered demolished in the community of Bridgeland, including one property which was lit on fire twice in February.

READ MORE: Calgary firefighter injured battling fire at vacant Bridgeland home

The city will continue to work with the owners until all three demolitions are complete.

The CSRT has issued 15 MGA orders to homeowners in Calgary so far this year.

“The management of vacant, derelict properties is an issue not only in Calgary, but for many cities,” Brown said.

“CSRT is recognized as a leader in the safe management of these types of homes and have provided our expertise to Edmonton, Airdrie, Regina, Saskatchewan and St. John, New Brunswick.”

Formed in 2011, the CSRT acts quickly to respond to incidents regarding unsafe buildings, construction sites and illegal marijuana grow operations to ensure public safety.

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