The days of shooting off fireworks on your back lawn without consequence may be over as city council has decided to use a portion of its surplus to hire a full-time bylaw officer.
The position was reduced to a 10-hour per week function during recessionary times in 2005 by combining bylaw enforcement duties with those of the city’s animal control officer.
But demand for bylaw enforcement services for such things as parking violations has now grown to the point a full-time officer is needed, city council decided at a March 12 session.
Council also considered a letter from Inspector Dana Hart of the Terrace RCMP detachment recommending the creation of the full-time bylaw officer position to free up officers from having to take care of city issues.
He said the number of calls relating to city bylaw enforcement to the detachment received is untenable as it stands with 373 bylaw complaints registered in 2014, 262 in 2013 and 365 in 2012.
When the position was cut in 2005, responsibility for bylaw enforcement was spread beyond the animal control officer and tacked onto the duties of various other city workers.
“With a full-time bylaw compliance officer, staff will be able to focus on their departments, which is really important considering how busy our Development Services, Leisure Services, Public Works, and RCMP departments are,” said mayor Carol Leclerc.
Details still need to be worked out.
Creating a full-time bylaw officer will cost an annual $79,279.20 in wages based on the current scale, $4,000 in travel and training and an internal charge of $7,200 for vehicle payments and servicing.
A light truck will be bought for $22,000 as a one time cost and office equipment and a computer bought for $2,500 as a one time cost.
At the same time, the current animal control officer’s hours will be increased by 10 hours a week at a lower rate than when those hours were dedicated to bylaw enforcement.
This will make for a full time animal control officer position at $68,088.40 in wages.
Councillors have also decided to increase the city’s seasonal gardener position from seven months to 10. That’s partially in response to lobbying efforts from the Greater Terrace Beautification Society.
“We have over the last couple years done very well with some pretty impressive gardening, the millennium pathway, the Howe Creek trail park, George Little Park, things like that, but there is always more work to be done,” said councillor Brian Downie.
The additional months will give the gardener more time for control of pests which can harm trees, for instance.