The District Office in Elkford. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

The District Office in Elkford. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

Elkford council seeks to clarify ‘Good Neighbour Bylaw’ after passing third reading

The proposed bylaw passed third reading on Oct. 11 after discussion from councillors

Elkford’s ‘Good Neighbour Bylaw’ has passed third reading, with added direction that the district make further efforts to clarify, explain and receive feedback about the proposed bylaw before adoption.

The bylaw when first proposed attracted a lot of discussion, making it a contentious issue with opposition and support acknowledged by the district in its report.

Broadly speaking, the proposed bylaw seeks to regulate unsightly property, outdoor storage of materials, structures and fences, plants and vegetation, outdoor watering, noise, and loitering.

It went through third reading on Oct. 11 after a discussion by councillors that mostly revolved around the need to further and better explain the proposal and public perception of heavy-handedness with regards to district officers entering private property. Councillors also spoke about their own need to follow the dictates of the proposed bylaw.

Councillors Steve Fairbairn and Len Gostick voted against third reading, though they were still broadly in favour of the bylaw. Fairbairn suggested open houses to address peoples’ complaints and Gostick suggested more user-friendly language and clarity about what’s being proposed.

“Because the bylaw’s good, and I think we need to clean these things up,” Gostick said.

“But it’s just, is there a way to get this across to people that we’re not going to be kicking down doors with storm troopers? And cleanup our own backyard.”

Councillor Mandy McGregor wanted there to be a better explanation that the proposal is an amalgamation of bylaws already in place.

“These four bylaws already exist, you’re already subjected to these rules. All we’ve done is take all of these rules, clean up the language and put them into one bylaw.”

Elkford council gave first and second reading to the proposed bylaw on June 27, 2022. Public consultation was sought and received, with responses that were both for and against the proposal.

In the Oct. 11 report to council prepared by director of planning and development services, Jeremy Johnston, the overall sentiments of those opposed to the bylaw were summarized, with district responses included.

Johnston also included changes that have been made to the proposed bylaw following feedback and review, including added clarification to section 3.2 about how and when a bylaw officer may enter private property, “to add clarity and ensure consistency with the Community Charter.”

The details of those changes, the district’s responses to criticism, and the results of a public survey about the bylaw can be found in the Oct. 11 council meeting agenda at the District of Elkford website.

In response to a question from The Free Press about the extra directions added for district staff to pursue following third reading, Johnston said “After passing third reading, Council requested an online post clarifying which bylaws are being consolidated into the Good Neighbour bylaw and make it clear what the rules around entering property are.

“The direction included receiving feedback at the District office and bringing the bylaw back for adoption at the next meeting with a summary of any feedback received.”

READ MORE: Elkford seeking public feedback on proposed ‘Good Neighbour Bylaw’


@fishynewswatch
josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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Municipal Government