Cranbrook’s bylaw officers will have more power and will issue fines to residents more efficiently next year.
“It gives our bylaw officers some area to enforce our bylaws. They can fine people or make sure they are enforced properly. Before, we didn’t have that available to us – you could complain but the bylaw officers couldn’t do anything. This gives them some authority for that,” said Mayor Lee Pratt
Cranbrook City Council has given the green light to an amendment that would streamline bylaw enforcement service through an adjudication system.
According to officials with the City of Cranbrook, the following changes will be implemented:
- Allows a wider range of services for Bylaw Officers issuing tickets.
- Tiered penalty system – reduced penalty if paid within 14 days and increased if paid after 28 days.
- Addition of a Screening Officer who would review disputed tickets to either uphold or cancel them.
- Compliance Agreement options – the Screening Officer can allow for a reduced fine or one-year agreement to specified terms.
- Allowing adjudication hearings appointed by the Attorney General’s Office to make the final decision on a ticket.
- Establishing an Adjudication Registry, providing options for other municipalities to share expenses and services of the Adjudicator and hearings.
“The City of Cranbrook is now able to issue fines to people who are not complying. Now we will be able to take those fines, if people don’t pay them, to an adjudicator instead of a judge,” said Paul Haywood. “With the adjudicator, we’re going to be able to facilitate a lot more fines and move things along at a faster pace.”
The new method will allow bylaw infraction tickets to be processed between eight to 12 weeks, faster than it would through the court system.
While the new enforcement system was adopted on Monday evening, it will not come into effect until January 1, 2022.
Until then, Haywood said work will continue to get other communities in with the program. He said talks with Kimberley, Fernie, Creston and Golden, among other communities are ongoing to get them on board.
“It would be nice to have the Kootenays join us in a registry so that we could all work cohesively with the adjudicator when he or she comes out,” said Haywood. “He or she will go to all the communities at once every three to four months.”
In the same meeting, Cranbrook Council approved adjusting fines associated with some ticketed bylaw offences, such as parking meter violations.