At the regular board meeting for the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), the board of directors approved, in principal, the undertaking of the Bylaw Notice Dispute Adjudication system as a means of bylaw enforcement.
Bylaw adjudication is an alternative to the court-based model currently in place to enforce bylaw violations.
Through the Local Government Bylaw Notice Enforcement Act, bylaw adjudication provides a framework for a non-judicial system for local governments to deal with bylaw enforcement disputes.
“This is a process to allow the enforcement of bylaws and to provide an opportunity to collect fines that would be a result of someone breaking the bylaw,” said Larry Gray, chair of the RDKB. “In the normal course of events, if someone didn’t pay their fine, you would take them to court. What this allows is a dispute resolution system where any disputes are referred to an adjudicator.”
Gray said that taking disputes to court where a judge would decide if the fine stays or is reduced, is a very costly process.
“In this case, it would go to an adjudicator who would hear both sides and would say, ‘You have to pay the fine.’ Or not. There’s no in between. The reason it’s better is we don’t have to pay court costs. You could do it over the phone. In terms of collecting that money – it could be a lien on the property or sent to a collection agency. In the case of municipalities it could go on your tax dollars.”
The adjudicators would be appointed by the board.
Gray said the process will take some time as it needs to first be send to the provincial government for approval.
“This is the first step in the process,” he said.