New adjudication process introduced to simplify bylaw fine disputes

The District of Squamish has introduced a new bylaw fine dispute system that will allow for the majority of bylaw fines to be disputed through an independent adjudication system at the local level rather than through the B.C. Provincial Court system. The new Bylaw Noticing and Adjudication Process aligns the District’s dispute process with best practices that have been successful in neighbouring municipalities North Vancouver and Whistler, among others.

Disputes are reviewed by a District of Squamish Screening Officer before being referred to an independent adjudicator, and can be facilitated by telephone, in writing or in person. The adjudicator is a professional person with no affiliation to the District, who can resolve disputes in an unbiased manner.

“The adjudication system allows us to provide residents with a fair, efficient and affordable alternative to resolving disputes through the Provincial Court system,” says District of Squamish Mayor, Patricia Heintzman. “We’re pleased to be joining other local governments across the province who are using the system to settle common disputes such as parking tickets and other minor bylaw infractions.”

Under the new system, tickets that can be disputed by an adjudicator will be a maximum of $500, and will be issued as Bylaw Notices. Bylaw Notices can be issued by Bylaw Officers, Animal Control Officers, Building Inspectors, Fire Inspectors or Fire Chief, RCMP Officers, Conservation Officers and other designated District staff and external agencies. Fine amounts and instructions on how to pay and/or dispute a Bylaw Notice are included on the reverse side of the notice, as well as on the District website

Traditional tickets (Municipal Ticket Information or MTIs) will continue to be issued in certain circumstances when the District may wish to issue a higher fine (up to $1,000) and/or compel that person to appear before a judge. MTI disputes must be disputed through the B.C. Provincial Court system.

Bylaw Enforcement Complaint Policy

Concurrently, a new Bylaw Enforcement Complaint Policy has been adopted by Council, which formalizes the process and priorities for responding to complaints and for proactive enforcement initiatives. The new policy clearly outlines for residents the District’s approach to fair and equitably-applied enforcement to ensure public safety and maintain community harmony.

The District has reviewed its enforcement policy in response to community feedback on key issues such as parking enforcement, snow clearing, wildlife attractants, and dogs at large. The new policy outlines three categories of enforcement responses, and the priorities and enforcement actions that accompany each. The three categories, in order of priority level are: 1) Health and safety (including environment); 2) Significant negative impact to adjacent properties, and 3) General nuisance.

“Our team will continue to work to achieve voluntary compliance through communication, education and warnings when possible,” says Jeff Sim, Senior Director of Human Resources and Public Safety. “At times, a more proactive and direct enforcement approach, including immediate ticketing, will be the appropriate action.”

Council funded two additional part-time bylaw enforcement employees in the 2017 budget to join the Bylaw team and further support the above initiatives. A part-time Bylaw Enforcement Officer and a part-time Bylaw Adjudication Clerk are in the process of being hired.

To learn more about the Bylaw Adjudication Process, please read our Frequently Asked Questions. View the District’s Bylaw Enforcement Complaint Policy here.

To report a bylaw infraction or complaint, please call the Bylaw Enforcement complaints line at 604.815.5067.

July 10, 2017

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