A landlord of so-called “problem properties” in the Comox Valley has pleaded guilty to a half-dozen counts for bylaw infractions imposed by the Comox Valley Regional District.
There had been three days set aside this week for a trial against Amandio Santos and his company, River Dam Holdings, relating to properties in Fanny Bay and Black Creek. The infractions from last year resulted from complaints about the condition of the properties at 501 Holiday Rd. and 7390 Cougar Smith Rd. in Fanny Bay, as well as 2180 Schulz Rd. in Black Creek.
“The three properties are in various states of non-compliance,” said Troy DeSouza, the lawyer representing the regional district.
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Counsel for the regional district and Santos agreed to pleas on six of 16 counts, though there was some confusion in Courtenay Provincial Court on Wednesday morning. There were stays of proceedings entered on the other counts.
CVRD staff also inspected the sites and issued bylaw offence tickets following complaints about unsightly properties from garbage, derelict vehicles and occupancy of a location where it was prohibited.
As Judge Catherine Crockett went over the counts, there was some question about whether Santos intended to plead guilty on three of the six, so she had him discuss the matter with his lawyer Dana Quantz. After a brief break, they returned, and Santos pleaded to all six counts.
“I’m satisfied that he understands what he’s pleading guilty to,” Crockett said in response.
For the infractions, Santos will pay fines amounting to $35,000 as well as $7,000 in legal fees for the CVRD. Additionally, he is to pay $600 for a couple of outstanding Municipal Ticket Information penalties. The fines are to be paid within a week of the judicial order.
The judge also issued an order to clean up the sites as needed within 30 days, as well as provide proof that the materials have been disposed of properly. Santos’s lawyer said Santos acknowledges he made errors in allowing some of his tenants people to rent. Santos, himself, said he would address the issues at the site.
“I plan to correct the problems that I got there,” he told the judge.
Crockett is also asking that Santos provide a written apology to the residents of the CVRD.
Santos apparently sold the Holiday Road property during the summer, which the lawyers conceded should help keep the sites in order, and has an offer on the Schulz Road site.