Joe Moyer's Blewett property

Blewett ‘junkyard’ draws RDCK ire

Joe Moyer’s property, used for the music video ‘Junkyard Bettie’ by Sofiella Watt, is the scene of unsightly premises controversy.

When Sofiella Watt and the Huckleberry Bandits were scouting locations for their music video ‘Junkyard Bettie’ last year, they happened upon Joe Moyer’s Granite Road property in Blewett and decided it would make a perfect backdrop for their debut single. He allowed them to film there free, playing amidst waist-high weeds and derelict vehicles.

Moyer’s property, which is a stone’s throw from Kootenay Lake and Taghum Beach, has been drawing complaints from neighbours and interventions from the RDCK since 2009, as evidenced by a lengthy correspondence Moyer shared with the Star. And following a meeting last Wednesday, he has approximately a month to clean up before they send in contractors to do it for him.

“I’ve lived here for 25 years, and there’s no zoning here. This is my income too, because I have a few rentals. I sell parts and do automotive work, so they’re screwing with my livelihood,” Moyer, 63, said.

“I’ve got some cars out here that are really rare, like a 1955 Mercury Sun Valley — which they only made 741 of that year — and I want to spend my retirement restoring some of this stuff.”

But according to Area E director Ramona Faust, the community’s concerns have reached a fever pitch — on top of routine complaints, the fire department has informed the RDCK they can’t send firefighters onto the property due to safety concerns, the Ministry of Highways has gotten involved, and they’ve received photographic evidence of a trailer fire on the premises in 2009.

“It really comes down to property values, the safety of the surrounding properties and the safety of those people who may live on the property that are not the owners,” she said.

And these concerns could be addressed in a number of ways.

“I would like to see the cars with little or no value removed. I’d like to see them straightened out in rows, I’d like to see all the garbage and derelict refrigerators and appliances gone so the property might be defensible in a fire. Then we’d like to make sure that anything habitated meets building code” said Faust. “That would be the best outcome.”

Area E currently has a bylaw that governs unsightly premises. It was rescinded at some point in the past — “I don’t know the whole story and there’s no one at the RDCK that does,” said Faust — but about three months into her directorship she decided to bring it back.

“I started getting complaints about this property and others. We had a discussion with the RDCK about the right way to approach it, through an official community plan or a standalone bylaw. By 2013 we had received so many complaints I decided to reinstate it.”

And starting in 2013, after rewriting the bylaw to make it less restrictive, they started to enforce it, contacting a number of properties throughout Area E. That’s when her interactions with Moyer began, leading to a series of events that culminated in last week’s meeting.

“The neighbours wouldn’t mind if there were 10 cars or so, but they’re concerned — are the cars drained or draining? Is that entering the aquifer? And nobody knows how many of those trailers are occupied.”

Bev Jensen, who lives on the property with Moyer, said she feels the RDCK should allow rural property owners to determine their own aesthetic.

“You buy a property, you own a property, you should be able to do what you want with it. I agree it could be cleaned up a bit, but I don’t think they have the right to come on the property and haul everything away.”

Moyer is frustrated.

“I think their goal is to drive me away from here,” he said.

Faust said if Moyer’s made significant progress before the RDCK’s October meeting, no further intervention will be required.

Faust has put Moyer in touch with local contractors who can remove his scrap metal and cars for free.

“I would prefer if Joe does this himself because I know him and I want him to feel like he’s in charge.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Kaslo councillor admits to ‘baiting’ member of public in email exchange

Kaslo Village Council to consider adopting code of conduct

Nicole Charlwood to run for Green Party

Charlwood was previously the Greens local campaign manager

Tanya Finley named Liberal candidate for Nelson-Creston

Finley is president of the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce

Terry Tiessen to run as Libertarian candidate in Nelson-Creston

Tiessen previously ran in the 2019 federal election

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Most Read