Bird carcasses building up inside empty storefronts

The empty Oasis Plaza in Cache Creek has become a final resting place for many pigeons trapped inside.

Piles of dead pigeons, trapped inside the Oasis Plaza, is disgusting and need to be cleaned up, residents Laurie and Sharon Rennie told Cache Creek Council at their March 25 meeting.

The Rennies were asking Council to enforce the town’s Unsightly Premises bylaw, having filed a complaint against the row of storefronts next to the Oasis Hotel in January.

“We feel a similar sense of frustration,” Mayor John Ranta told them, and he listed the number of agencies who had been contacted but said they couldn’t force the landlord to comply with any law or bylaw that would make him clean up the empty building.

Laurie Rennie said he filled out a complaint in January after seeing the dying pigeons through the windows. On Feb. 23 they looked again and the only thing that had changed was the number of dead birds.

“We stopped and looked at it today and there were dead pigeons all over the place,” he said, adding that the carcasses  would be attracting rodents and insects if they hadn’t already, and there was a possibility of disease being spread by them to nearby buildings.

Ranta said the building had been subject to numerous complaints over the years and the Village has spoken to property owner, who lives in the Lower Mainland, on several occasions. He said the owner always agrees to remedy the situation. “Unfortunately, those reassurances haven’t resulted in action.”

Except for a recent complaint that parts of the soffit were missing. The landlord arranged to have the holes boarded up, which resulted in the pigeons being trapped inside.

Ranta said the Village had discussed the matter with the Building Inspector, the Fire Commissioner’s office, and even Interior Health who told them they had no authority to act on it as a health matter because the birds were in a contained area.

The Village has no authority to enter the building without the owner’s consent.

“A similar situation in a larger centre would not be allowed to exist,” said Ranta. “We haven’t given up, but we’re struggling to make progress.”

Rennie said he and his wife came to Cache Creek in 2006 to retire. If someone looking for a place to retire saw that, they’d move on, he said.

“We agree,” said Ranta.

Coun. Darrell Rawcliffe wondered if the SPCA would help.

“It’s outside their realm,” said administrator Leslie Lloyd.

“No one wants to touch it,” said Rawcliffe.

“That’s our frustration,” said Ranta.

Lloyd said she spoke to the owner just prior to the Council meeting. She said he is aware that Council is looking for ways to make him clean up the building. She said in the conversation before the meeting, he said he would be in Cache Creek Apr. 5-10 and said he would clean out the units at that time.