The District of Kitimat is working to amend their rules to allow giving bylaw tickets out instead of taking people to court.
The move will give the town more flexibility in dealing with bylaw infractions without the burden and cost of legal proceedings.
On June 23 Council gave three readings to the Penalties and Municipal Ticket Information System bylaw.
As it is now for certain infractions people will get a site visit from the District, before possibly escalating to courts.
Staff point out in their report to councillors that the process “can consume significant staff time.”
The offences one can be ticketed for include things such as parking too many RVs on your property, keeping a prohibited animal or having over-sized commercial vehicles on your property.
The tickets are all set at $100.
Each day that the infraction hasn’t been handled will be considered a new offence and people could be receiving additional tickets.
Court action could still be taken on offences despite this bylaw.
“The main point of what we’re trying to do here is we’re taking a lot of our bylaw infractions such as parking illegally, being parked on properties it’s not zoned for. Right now we have to do what’s called a long-form information, which means essentially we make contact with the person and if they don’t do anything with it, usually follow-up with a letter or two then you have to go to court,” explained Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Warren Waycheshen. He said once you get to court it will still be several weeks before a matter is settled.
“That’s the main thing we’re trying to do here, things that can be easily rectified and fixed,” he continued. “A lot easier to do, it hits the person in the pocket book…it’s not something we have to drag out.”
The language of the bylaw also gives ticketing power to the District’s director of community planning and development. Waycheshen said that’s because the planner will likely have the expertise needed in some infraction situations.
While the town now has this ticketing power, Waycheshen said the person issuing a ticket can use their discretion and determine whether a punitive measure is appropriate in the circumstance.
“There’s always some extenuating circumstances to look at most of the time.”