Committee endorses Saskatoon Fire Department’s proposal to investigate boarded-up homes

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Saskatoon committee endorses fire department’s proposal to investigate boarded houses
WATCH: Boarded-up buildings may soon be addressed by the Saskatoon Fire Department – Jan 14, 2020

The Saskatoon Fire Department is one step closer to helping tackle an issue that has been raised by a number of community groups across the city.

At the Jan. 14 planning, development and community services committee meeting, the committee decided to endorse a plan of action that would see the fire department investigate boarded-up homes.

This plan would give fire investigators a chance to examine the boarded-up structures in the hope property owners address the issues faster.

“In investigating these and finding out why they’re boarded, maybe we can determine why they are in such a state and how can we change that so that the boards come off and the buildings end up back on the rental market,” said assistant fire chief Wayne Rodger.

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Currently, investigating boarded-up properties is low on the fire department’s priority list. The change would bump this to the highest priority.

Rodger said of the 56 boarded up buildings reported by the Pleasant Hill Community Association last summer, the fire department only had five active files in the area.

The association has reported that number has since grown to 68.

The changes would mean the department would work closely with the community to identify and locate the subject homes and act on them.

The assistant chief said homeowners could appeal the fire department’s enforcement procedures and the entire legal process could take up to a year.

City council will vote on the matter at its Jan. 27 meeting.

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