Complaints prompt review of bylaw enforcement

Bylaw infractions and enforcement issues dominated the agenda at the Delburne council meeting on Tues. June 26. The issue was brought to council because of complaints received by administration over the past few months, coming to the forefront after a delegation presented council with a history of ongoing complaints and the ‘unsatisfactory’ enforcement of existing village bylaws.

Delegation comments included the word ‘deplorable’ when describing the condition of various properties in the village. The delegation suggested that not only are the properties in question eyesores, there is a concern about the impact to neighbouring property values and possible environmental issues.

In the opinion of this delegation, there seemed to be no follow up after an official complaint was lodged with the village. According to administration, citizen complaints regarding unsightly premises, derelict vehicles, noise restrictions, and recreational vehicle storage are received regularly.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Karen Fegan outlined the complaints procedure, explaining how some of the town’s bylaws don’t have enough teeth to give officials sufficient ability to enforce community standards. Some of the properties in question have been long-term concerns for the village, potentially affecting neighbourhood property values and quality of life. These ongoing issues have become a nuisance, stretching personnel resources and may even become hazardous to public health.

Council agreed that a person’s quality of life can be undermined by noisy neighbours, messy properties or similar problems. Coun. Tim Wilson said, “When it is consistent and you’re not comfortable in your environment, that’s another thing.”

This is not the first time bylaw enforcement problems have been discussed. Council raised concerns at their June 12 meeting about recreational vehicles parked adjacent to homes on residential streets. Council agreed that all the bylaws and enforcement policies regarding these issues need to be reviewed.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” stated Coun. Jeff Bourne, but he agreed that amendments were needed to existing bylaws. “We need to find a long term solution, not a solution for this week.”

Administration was directed to do some research and determine the scope of a community standards bylaw regarding hazardous and unsightly premises.

 

Linda Stillinger

ECA Review

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