The Concerned Citizens of Crofton want something done about the dilapidated Twin Gables Motel on the community’s waterfront.
Appearing as a delegation at North Cowichan’s council Zoom meeting on April 7, the CCC’s Jocelyn Anderson said the motel is a nuisance property and an eyesore that should be dealt with immediately.
She said windows in the motel’s units have been boarded over, sections of the roof are covered in ripped tarps, and the community fears that contaminants from the site are leaching into the ocean.
Anderson said criminal activity, including drug trafficking and property theft, are ongoing at the motel and the RCMP have to visit it on a regular basis.
“Despite the income from the rent received at the motel, the owners are not providing acceptable living standards to their tenants,” she said.
“Such living conditions have led to the ghettoization of the complex and the citizens there are being exploited. We should be disgusted at the environmental damage that is being caused there, and the disregard for people’s health. We need to have the bylaws enforced and have all the rentals at the motel closed down. We need to reclaim this site for a waterfront park.”
At least two of the buildings on the property have been condemned in recent years, while others are still long-term rentals, and a fire in one of the occupied rentals at the motel in 2020 left one person with minor injuries.
Council decided in 2016 to allow the deteriorating buildings at the motel to continue as they were for the time being, noting that bracing had been sufficient to ensure their structural stability.
The property owners, who live outside the province, were required to have a follow-up inspection and approval complete within the following year on the buildings on the property.
Prior to council’s decision, the owners made a presentation to council about the future plans for the proposed Crofton Quay site that was envisioned for the property, which were to include building possible rental accommodations, a cafe and a marina.
Staff acknowledged after Anderson’s delegation on April 7 that the property has been sitting for some time with nothing being done, and the municipality doesn’t know the intentions of the owners at this time.
Mayor Al Siebring told Anderson that it’s not council’s practice to make any decisions on issues immediately after hearing from a delegation, and that more input from staff and others will be sought before any final decisions are made.
Siebring told the Citizen after the meeting that the municipality has recently met with the owners of the motel to talk about the issues and potential solutions.
“There will be a report at the conclusion of the next council meeting,” he said.
“We are taking this matter seriously, but there are things in the background, including enforcement issues, that we can’t talk about at this time.”