Grand Forks municipal bylaws to get more bite with amendments

Grand Forks is in the process of streamlining city bylaws by tentatively approving changes and adopting a ticketing bylaw.

Grand Forks city council began making a number of bylaw amendments at its June 24 meeting.

Grand Forks municipal bylaws are on the path to gaining more bite.

At the June 24 council meeting, Grand Forks city council continued the process of streamlining city bylaws by tentatively approving changes to eight of them and adopting a Municipal Ticketing Bylaw (No. 1957) that establishes a system of fines.

Three readings were given with final reading taking place at an upcoming meeting.

Mayor Brian Taylor said many residents and taxpayers had been asking for this type of change.

“It’s basically a graduated ticketing bylaw that is common in British Columbia,” Taylor said.  “We’re not the only municipality that has it or is working on it. Basically what it is, is  just a change to allow us to enforce our bylaws.”

An example, Taylor said, would be that the bylaw enforcement officer could say, “We’ve asked you to clean up your premises three times and if you don’t comply we will fine you $50 a week until it’s cleaned up. And if you don’t pay, we will put it on your taxes.”

When asked if there had been negative reaction to the fine system, Taylor said, “Up until now, people have seemed to be more concerned that we can make all the rules we want, but we haven’t been able to enforce them.”

The Municipal Ticketing Bylaw spells out 98 bylaw infractions and fines that go with them. They range from $50 for a variety of city traffic infractions, $100 under a number of noise control bylaws to $200 for burning without a permit under the Grand Forks Fire and Safety Bylaw.

The process is ongoing, according to Taylor.

“All of our bylaws are going to go through the process of being made consistent with our Municipal Ticketing Bylaw so when we have bylaw infractions, we can impose a fine. We can, but we don’t have to. There is a program of increasing penalties for those who defy the rules,” he said adding, “It certainly is going to make it a lot easier for us to step up the pressure on those who are simply thumbing their nose at reasonable rules.”

Up until now, the city has had to go to considerable expense to enforce bylaws. Taylor used the example of a property in the downtown area that was unsightly and that required a court injunction to force the owner to clean it up, costing taxpayers over $7,000 in court and legal fees.

Taylor recognized that there were some dangers in such a system of monetary penalties. “I think it is an improvement,” he said, “but I think we have to guard against the city having too much power. There have to be some checks and balances with this.”

Further information is on the city’s website. Residents wishing to raise concerns can do so before council.

“The Committee of the Whole meeting will be a place where we will be airing a lot of this discussion,” Taylor said. Committee of the Whole Council meetings are held Mondays between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., with the next one being scheduled for July 22.

Just Posted

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

Endoscopy Campaign wraps up at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

The KBRH Health Foundation recently held a donor ceremony for contributors to its $450,000 tally

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Elections 2018: Meet your Grand Forks Council Candidates

The biographies of the 13 candidates for City of Grand Forks council

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day two of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

Demand for legalized cannabis in early hours draws lineups, heavy web traffic

Government-run and privately operated sales portals went live at 12:01 a.m. local time across Canada, eliciting a wave of demand.

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set to make parole pitch today

Paul Bernardo, whose very name became synonymous with sadistic sexual perversion, is expected to plead for release on Wednesday.

Hero campaign raises $1.1 million for Canada non-profits

Lowe’s Canada Heroes campaign was held throughout September

Scope of Hurricane Michael’s fury becomes clearer in Florida Panhandle

Nearly 137,000 Florida customers remain without power from the Gulf of Mexico to the Georgia border

Streamlined pardon process for pot possession convictions in Canada

Feds say legalization is first step towards objectives of getting pot out of the hands of kids and eliminating black market

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

Most Read