Big Valley tackles bylaw enforcement

Big Valley council examined bylaw infractions and enforcement at length during the June 28 regular meeting.

Following a resolution passed at the May council meeting, administration conducted a village-wide bylaw compliance inspection with a primary focus on RVs and derelict vehicles in violation of municipal bylaws.

According to Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White’s report, there were 21 properties in violation of various municipal bylaws. Letters were sent to the property owners informing them of the bylaw infractions and included information regarding the appeal process according the MGA.

An appeal regarding an RV parked not in compliance with the Land Use Bylaw requirements was debated, with council concluding that the existing bylaw was reasonable. The appeal was denied. Further discussion revealed a hole in bylaw enforcement process. No written directives existed to deal with continued non-compliance of the RV parking regulations.

Council made a resolution regarding RV parking setting the fines for noncompliance with the Land Use Bylaw regarding parking of an RV at $200 for the first offence, $400 for the second offence and $600 for the third and subsequent offences within the summer season.

Bylaw amendment

Council gave first reading to Bylaw 836, an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw relating to development permits and subdivision matters. The amendments are being considered to bring the municipality’s Land Use Bylaw into compliance with the new Municipal Government Act (MGA).

A public hearing will be held on July 26 immediately preceding the regularly scheduled council meeting.

Resident petitions

Two separate requests for bill reductions came out in favour of petitioners after council deliberations. In the first request, a Big Valley property owner asked council to consider reducing the taxes levied on their property for the 2018 year because the house was lost in a fire earlier this year. Property assessments were completed before the end of 2017 with the assessment roll locked in by Feb. 28, 2018.

Though tax amendments are normally handled through a formal assessment appeal process, in this situation the property owner was not appealing the original assessed value of the property but requesting a reduction based on the fact that the house no longer exists.

Council passed a motion to reduce the property taxes to Big Valley’s $500 minimum lot levy plus one month of the regular tax amount. The second request involved a petition to reduce the amount owing on a residential utility account. The property in question experienced a water line freeze up this past spring. Attempts to thaw the line were unsuccessful, resulting in no water service to the property for a three month period. Council moved to reduce the utility bill by $139.50.

 

Linda Stillinger

ECA Review

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