To the editor:
This is an open letter to Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.
Have you ever wondered what happened to lands that went back to the provincial government for nonpayment of taxes?
Well, I was unfortunate to have a residence next door to one.
In 2012, I discovered the property next door transferred into the name of Her Majesty the Queen In Right of the Province of British Columbia on Jan. 27, 2003, but the person who previously owned it was still living there.
It is my understanding that when this occurs, the property forfeited is then offered for sale and the proceeds from a sale are used to pay outstanding taxes.
I contacted our local MLA Donna Barnett who contacted the department responsible for this area and found out it had “slipped through the cracks.”
Meanwhile, the property was deteriorating in that the balcony on the front of the house was actually falling off and the property was becoming overpopulated with over 200 feral cats.
In October 2013, an Order for Vacant Possession of the property was granted. In April 2014, nothing is happening and now the feral cats are occupying my property, too. In May, the occupant was forcibly removed and the ministry took possession.
I was told that the house would be demolished as the state inside was quite thick with cat defecation. The house was boarded up except for small areas left for the cats to get in and out.
Six weeks later, the cats remain despite the lack of food and they’re fighting all the time.
Government’s advice is they are not responsible for the cats and that the neighbouring properties can trap the cats and take them to the Williams Lake SPCA.
I provided case law and included section 8 of the Occupiers Liability Act.
Today, the cats are still occupying the property and to the best of my knowledge with no food, and the smell is getting stronger.
How many other properties are there like this?
100 Mile House