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White Rock council adopts new bylaw enforcement approach

Once approved by the province, the city could mail out tickets
The City of White Rock is adopting a process used by more than 100 other BC communities in which bylaw infraction tickets could be presented (and disputed) by mail. (File photo)

If you contravene a City of White Rock bylaw in the near future – and aren’t handed a ticket – don’t believe you’re in the clear.

Following council’s adoption of a different model for bylaw ticketing and enforcement, a ticket with your name on it could soon be in the mail.

At its Jan. 10 meeting council followed a Sept. 20 recommendation from its Governance and Legislation Committee to put into effect a bylaw notice enforcement and adjudication system already adopted by more than 100 local governments in B.C.

The system provides an alternate method of enforcing and resolving disputes on minor bylaw violations relating to animal control, business licences, zoning, signs, parking, building, noise, parks, trees and unsightly premises.

Council approved a formal request to the BC Ministry of the Attorney General to make the Local Government Bylaw Notice Enforcement Act applicable to White Rock.

It also approved asking staff to prepare a bylaw specific to the process; to develop a screening officer policy, and to make necessary amendments to existing bylaws.

The original report, from former planning and development services director Carl Isaak noted that a pilot project for the system, launched in three North Shore municipalities in 2004, found an improvement in collection of outstanding fines, satisfaction with speed and fairness of the dispute system, and an overall reduction in the number of tickets disputed.

Among features of the system would be delivery of a bylaw notice (ticket) – which could still be handed over in person, or left on a car windshield – but could be sent by mail if the offender could not be easily located.

Tickets would set penalties for contraventions, up to a maximum of $500, but would also indicate potential of reductions for early payment or compliance agreements, set out a timeline for paying or disputing a ticket, and would describe the process for disputing a ticket, and the fee for disputes that are not successful.

The system would also authorize the city to appoint internal screening officers to review disputed tickets and enter into compliance agreements.

“It is anticipated that the cost of operating a bylaw adjudication system would be offset by the higher rate of fines collected and that it would not result in overall additional costs,” Isaak said.

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