The city of Terrace needs two full-time bylaw officers and can pay their salaries by the fines.
This sentiment was expressed to council by local teacher Greer Kaiser in a presentation to council during the regular meeting Dec. 8.
She told council that the single part-time bylaw employee model mainly charged with animal bylaw enforcement isn’t working out and that comments in online forums indicated that the average tax paying resident deals with bylaw problems regularly.
“How many people think their neighbour is breaking a bylaw and are bothered by it,” she said, adding that the complaint frequently ends up with the police because the city doesn’t have a full-time officer.
According to chief administrative officer Heather Avison, who responded to Kaiser’s presentation, said that “work has been done” by the city looking into the new bylaw officer position.
The development services department will be presenting options to council including making a full-time position, something Terrace once had but the position was phased out.
“The amount that will be provided to council for their consideration during the budget process is $88,000/yr for wages and benefits and one-time costs of $24,500 for a vehicle and office equipment,” said Avison by email.
The presentation to council puts the pressure back on the city to address concerns over handicap parking violations as well as complaints about fireworks.
Handicap parking rose as an issue earlier this year after complaints were received that when able-bodied people park in handicap reserve locations, little or nothing is done as a result.
That prompted the decision to consider a fulltime bylaw officer in the city next’s budget now being crafted.
Kaiser’s letter to council calls for “after hours reporting” to crack down on noise, fireworks and barking dogs, as well as being tough on “snow removal around parked cars.”
She said that two bylaw officers should be given the power to “convict” and “fine”. It calls for the right people to be hired as officers who can deal with investigations that are “difficult/sensitive” and that involve a lot of “he said/she said”.
“I don’t want to complain anymore I want to complain with suggestions,” said Kaiser.
Her main suggestions is that the city strike a committee to look at a review of both how the bylaws are written and how they are enforced.
“The bylaw policy is pretty hard to follow and I wonder if it could be simplified,” she said. “There is a policy and procedure for every different bylaw for instance.”
“How much would the city recover over the winter if you imposed the fines,” she continued, pointing to people who park overnight and block snow removal. “And noise… you can fine up to $2,000, that’s a bit of money.”