Fanny Bay residents conducted a neighbourhood meeting July 22 to discuss problem properties at Holiday Road, Cougar Smith Road and Artela Drive. Photo supplied

Fanny’s Lot: gunshots, drug deals, fires and machetes

Fanny Bay residents fed up with problems tied to neighbourhood house, want action taken

Nuisance properties aren’t just an urban problem

A delegation from Fanny Bay launched an appeal to Comox Valley Regional District directors to find a solution to end a long list of problems associated with a property in the community south of Courtenay.

Recently, neighbours say the situation has worsened at 501 Holiday Rd. in terms of garbage, gunshots, drug dealing and out-of-control fires. One day, an individual from the property was screaming and banging on a door. Turns out the man was carrying two machetes.

The property is owned by local landlord Amandio Santos, whose various Comox Valley rental properties have repeatedly been called out by neighbours for nuisance activities.

READ ALSO: Comox residents concerned about drug activities in neighbouring house

READ ALSO: Courtenay residents express outrage, fear regarding illegal activities in neighbourhood

Holiday Road resident Jaime Shepherd says the Fanny Bay property in question, which she calls ‘The Lot,’ has been a problem for about 20 years.

“You may be asking, ‘Why now?’” she said at the Aug. 10 Electoral Area Services Committee meeting. “Because we’re fed up. Since June, we’ve seen a parade of tow trucks haul in scrap cars and trucks. Then the police recover a stolen truck from Port Hardy.”

Shepherd said the man with the machetes walked by her house to reach the doorstep of neighbour Paul Crawford.

“My door was wide open at the time,” she said, noting Fanny Bay is a 30-minute response from the Comox Valley RCMP detachment in Courtenay. “The ‘what ifs’ are terrifying. What if my kids were playing in the yard?”

Crawford says the property owner tends to turn a blind eye to the illegal activities.

“Nothing good ever happens at that property, and it’s getting worse,” he said. “Once, we used to walk up the road with our children with a picnic basket and fishing poles. Now I carry a club, a knife and bear spray, whatever I can to protect myself and my family. There’s something not quite right about these properties and the landlord who owns them. This crap has continued year after year. Something has to be done. There’s no halfway on this one. These properties have to be sold before somebody gets seriously hurt.”

Jaki Ayton said neighbours were concerned that a man named Darren might have been paying his social assistance housing allowance to live in a tent on the property.

“I can assure you that your experiences are being heard,” said Area B director Arzeena Hamir, who asked if the CVRD has a way of identifying nuisance properties.

CAO Russell Dyson said nuisance property provisions are more common within municipalities.

A July 22 neighbourhood meeting about the situation drew about 40 people, including members of the RCMP, the Fanny Bay Fire Department and Area A director Daniel Arbour.

“This is a systemic problem,” said Arbour, noting the frustrations of a person using the system to their advantage. “It is something that we need to think about very seriously, especially when it goes on for many, many years. We need a solution to this problem. It’s unacceptable.”

He notes the property owner has previously made comments that he was providing affordable housing for people in need.

“I’m not fooled by that,” Arbour said. “I believe the circumstances would suggest that this is somebody that takes advantage of people in need, and probably makes their cycle of troubles worse.”

Before Monday’s presentation began, EASC chair Edwin Grieve said details about specific complaints or investigations are confidential. He noted the complexity of bylaw enforcement, but said the CVRD is committed to fairness.

After the meeting, Santos was contacted by phone but was not interested in discussing the situation.

“It’s not my problem, nothing I can do about it,” Santos said. “That’s been taken care of.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Just Posted

Unfiled cases could backlog B.C. provincial court system

Provincial court registry and proceedings in Victoria have reopened

Advocates for the homeless prepare for winter in a pandemic

Winter presents unique challenges to people experiencing homelessness this year in Campbell River

Stress weighs heavy on those working in veterinary health

Vancouver Island vet techs urge public to be patient, kind

GERDING: Forest industry facing tough times

Upcoming protests seeks change in how B.C.’s forests are harvested

Decision on judicial review of Cowichan Motorsport decision could take months

VIMC said it was assured by North Cowichan that expansion would be allowed

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Long-term care need pressuring acute care in Comox Valley, Strathcona

Region could use a couple of large facilities for seniors on the north part of the Island

Port McNeill business owners making space for outdoor socializing

Community focused on creating more places for people to gather

Work set to start this month on two new Langford schools

Farmer Construction Ltd. will utilize SD62 students to work on the $55.2 million project

Industry running in new direction, says Vancouver Island run director

Popular Sidney by the Sea Run/Walk goes virtual

Nanaimo’s Cinefest film festival to be held online this year due to COVID-19

CineCentral Filmmakers Society’s annual festival to feature films made in 48 hours

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

Another Sayward councillor resigns ahead of November byelection

Council will be able to maintain quorum until byelection is held, says Municipal Affairs

Most Read