A new enforcement system for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) means that police and SLRD staff can be authorized to write tickets for bylaw infractions.
Bylaw notices, or tickets, can be issued by either police or SLRD staff for non-compliance on zoning, noise, signage, unsightly premises, land clearing, debris pollution management, and soil deposit and removal, among others.
"We just hired a bylaw enforcement officer for the regional district, so now we have enforcement that will help us promote compliance," said SLRD chair Jack Crompton. Previously with bylaw infractions, written notice was given and no fine was imposed.
The new initiative stems from a 2003 pilot project in West Vancouver, North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver as an alternative to dealing with infractions in the provincial court system.
With the new enforcement system in place, for example, someone who contravenes the noise bylaw can be issued a ticket that carries a fine. Each day the infraction continues to occur is treated as a new infraction, for which a new ticket can be issued.
Conversely, if someone pays the fine within 21 days, an early-payment discount applies.
Someone who chooses to dispute the infraction can file a notice of dispute before they are contacted by a screening officer to discuss the allegations, which is an attempt to help residents understand the bylaws, the SLRD regulations, and their options for dealing with the notice.
The disputant can choose to pay the fine or to move to a resolution carried out with a provincially appointed adjudicator, for which the disputant pays a $25 administrative fee.
In a press release, the SLRD said the intent is "not to penalize people, but to achieve compliance with bylaws."
Crompton said the number of complaints received by the SLRD has increased over the years and this new system gives them a tool to enforce bylaws in a fair, affordable and effective way.
The fines range from $100 to $400. The bylaws, which apply in the electoral areas, exclude firearm and motor-vehicle speed limits.