Town of Stettler approves jake brake, tree branch changes

Written by Stu Salkeld

The Town of Stettler approved updated bylaws that cover overhanging tree branches encroaching on public property and truck drivers employing “jake brakes” in municipal limits.

The changes were approved at the Aug. 4 regular meeting of council.

Councillors read a memo from Leann Graham, director of planning and development, stating changes for certain tree branches and engine retarder brakes came from observation or complaints.

“A review of the Traffic Bylaw took place following a series of public complaints concerning engine retarder brake use within the town limits and town operations concerns regarding overgrown trees and shrubs encroaching onto town property such as sidewalks, streets and lanes,” stated Graham’s memo.

“An Amendment to the Traffic bylaw was passed at the July 21, 2020 Town of Stettler council meeting.

“In a review of the Traffic Bylaw, administration identified overlap in the Nuisance Bylaw regarding overgrown trees and overlap in the Noise Bylaw regarding engine retarder brakes. Further, during the review of the Noise Bylaw, administration identified other sections that needed amendments. Administration reviewed examples from other municipalities such as Red Deer, Lacombe, Drumheller, Camrose, Beaumont and Drayton Valley.”

Graham stated the Nuisance bylaw changes were straightforward. 

“The existing bylaw has a general statement regarding the trimming of trees, shrubs and bushes overhanging on sidewalks, lanes, or streets,” she stated. 

“Administration recommends adding details such as minimum heights and distances from streets/lanes and sidewalks to help clarify and guide homeowners/occupants. The details are provided in the amending bylaw.”

The Noise bylaw changes were more complicated. Graham stated sources of noise and other details must be defined.

“In Part 2, we have included additional definitions as identified through previous enforcement,” she stated. 

“These definitions include electronic devices, the type of land use classification, occupant, owner, person and property.

“(In Part 3) the largest addition to note is the hours of causing an audible disturbance.

To keep consistency within our bylaw, we have aligned the audible disturbance hours with the construction hours of Monday to Saturday, 07:00 to 22:00, and Sundays and Statutory Holidays 09:00 to 19:00.”

Graham noted that new rules for the jake brake issue were added to Part 5, some town operations were made exempt under certain circumstances and fines were changed for noise infractions to first offence $250, second offence $500 and third offence $750.

Councillors approved all readings necessary to immediately bring the bylaw changes into effect.


Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.