LM&TC clamping down on over 200 illegal structures
The Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) is clamping down on the illegal construction of businesses on its reserves in Linden, as recent assessments unearthed over 200 violations of this nature. On Thursday, a team headed by Deputy Mayor Wainewright Bethune visited numerous areas within the town where several of these structures were pinpointed. The area along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway in the vicinity of Amelia’s Ward was noted to be one of the most prevalent for the violation. Bethune said as a result, the Council will be taking steps to curb the situation.
“…persons would be issued with notices from the Council to stop construction or to demolish because these are buildings built illegally on the Council’s reserve, meaning there were no applications, no documents, no notifications to the Council,” the Deputy Mayor indicated following the visit.
Members of the Council also visited numerous residences on the Wismar shore where similar issues involving housing constructions were raised.
Bethune noted that the LM&TC will be looking at ways and means to remedy these issues as he pointed out that they have been ongoing for years. According to the Deputy Mayor, there is need to get back to a culture where things are done legally and in a more structured manner. He noted, however, that the Council would first be issuing warnings to residents who are in violation.
“We’re trying to avoid the ‘big stick’ method… We are going to talk to them, tell them that it’s illegal, tell them what is the plan for the town, tell them the outlook,” Bethune said.
At the same time, he noted that the Council will be looking for a suitable area to accommodate vendors. The same approach will be taken across the community, Bethune related. At this point, the Deputy Mayor said the Council is behind on revenue and such activities are putting additional strain on the Council. The Council’s aim, he stressed, is to have businesses develop in a legal and structured way.
For illegal residential structures, the Deputy Mayor said a fine of $35,000 is attached to this violation according to the Council’s policy. He added that in some instances, persons with illegal businesses are living on the property and environmental safety and health issues were observed.
But while the Council is clamping down on such practices, some vendors have noted that there are issues in terms of timely response from the Council when they submit their applications. In some instances, they noted that they do not receive a response. As such, the vendors who shared their frustration indicated that they felt as though there were no other alternatives. Others also welcomed the idea of having an area designated so that they can ply their trade.