The District of Elkford is seeking public feedback on a proposed bylaw that is proving to be contentious early on.
The ‘Good Neighbour Bylaw No. 871, 2022’ was given first and second readings at a council meeting on June 27.
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 would consolidate and update four existing bylaws, being the ‘Unsightly Premises Bylaw No. 414, 1991’, the ‘Noise Control Bylaw No. 198, 1982’, ‘Outdoor Water Conservation Bylaw No. 769, 2015’, and the ‘Loitering and Public Nuisances Control Bylaw No. 658, 2005.’
A Facebook post soliciting public input (with feedback to be accepted from June 28 to August 1), received 72 comments in about a day.
Many of the comments were critical, with others suggesting that people should read the bylaw and take the survey, and suggesting the new bylaw is just a modernized and consolidated version of bylaws that were already in place.
One of the commenters was Len Gostick, who sits on district council.
He asked people to participate in the public feedback and attend a council meeting.
“It’s your community, we’re trying to tidy up antiquated bylaws as requested by the people of Elkford,” Gostick wrote.
“If this wasn’t posted on Facebook not a single one of the commentators would have even known about this. It’s our community, your community please get involved,” he said, garnering 26 likes for his comment.
Gostick also spoke in the June 27 meeting about bylaw enforcement around unsightly premises, and mentioned citizens’ complaints about uneven enforcement.
“We have to either scrap it or enforce it,” he said.
“If we’re going to write a law like this, which is great, it’s got a lot of teeth in it, I think we have to follow through.”
The proposed bylaw outlines the means and methods of enforcement.
If passed, it can be enforced by bylaw enforcement officers, the director, the chief administrative officer, or the RCMP, via a ticket.
Section 3.2 of the bylaw says “A Bylaw Enforcement Officer may enter, at all reasonable times, on any Property to inspect and determine whether all regulations, prohibitions and requirements of this Bylaw are being met.”
Remedial action, offences and penalties are outlined in sections 11 and 12. The latter section states that those convicted of offending against the bylaw could face a fine of no more than $10,000, among other possibilities.