Saskatoon committee votes to create report on landlord licensing

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WATCH ABOVE: Pleasant Hill residents say boarded-up houses are used by criminals – Aug 12, 2019

Saskatoon’s planning and development committee voted to compile a report on issuing licences to landlords as a means of limiting crime in Pleasant Hill.

But Shane Partridge, the safety coordinator for the neighbourhood, said it isn’t what he wanted.

“We’re in an emergency situation in our neighbourhood,” he said on Monday.

“Kids are waking up every week with a murder happening on their block or the block next to them.”

READ MORE: Police increasing presence in Pleasant Hill after homicides

The vote on the report was a response to a letter that he and Jennifer Altenberg, president of the Pleasant Hill Community Association, presented.

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Nine homicides have been committed in Saskatoon so far this year and three of them happened in Pleasant Hill. The letter states that many of the community’s requests and recommendations for stemming the violence in the past, like increasing the number of street lights, have not been addressed by the city.

“Many of our members … are acknowledging that we have been voicing the same concerns for decades,” the letter read.

Partridge said the community is tired of waiting.

He said that the many boarded-up houses in the community are used by criminals.

But no city agency monitors boarded-up houses.

READ MORE: City of Saskatoon, police aren’t doing enough to stop crime: Pleasant Hill resident

Hilary Gough, the councillor for Pleasant Hill, said the city is moving forward on stopping the crime but that complex problems require research and strategy.

“Do we want to see some action and results? Absolutely,” she said.

“But few of the solutions to these types of challenges are simple, so we need to do them well.”

She said that she is working on several motions to be brought before city council at the end of August and that many residents to whom she spoke were surprised that there wasn’t some kind renting registration system already in place.

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“What I hear from people is a serious amount of surprise that we don’t have a greater system of regulation for rental properties and the business of renting properties in our city,” she said.

The report on landlord licensing is due to the committee by October.

READ MORE: Saskatoon police rule suspicious death in Pleasant Hill a homicide

She also said that she is researching what plans and proposals have been put forward in the past.

“The local plan for Pleasant Hill was conducted in 2001 … so I want to find out what still applies and how we can move some of those things forward.”

Partridge said the actions taken were a disappointment.

“We wanted some definitive action today and some commitment from the city to see some of the stuff go through,” he told Global News.

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