Break a bylaw and face a bigger bite with new ticketing system

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
February 22nd, 2013

A new graduated ticketing system will bring about stiffer penalties for bylaw infractions including deer feeding within the City of Grand Forks.

The bylaw for a new ticketing system and the details surrounding that system, including prices, will be ironed out over the next few months.

Doug Allin, the city’s chief administrative officer, hopes to have the bylaw ready for discussion, by council and the public, in April 2012.

“With a graduated ticket program you usually start small and then (the price) ramps up as the violation continues and the person refuses to listen,” said Taylor. “With the ticketing, the person can come to a council meeting to dispute the ticket but they can’t go to court to dispute it.”

Allin said the graduated system is really an update of the outdated practices currently in place.

“It is a very effective,” said Allin, who has past experiences with such systems. “People realize that council is serious about enforcing bylaws – it’s no different than speeding down the highway and having the police out there (to remind you that it is illegal).”

Right now many bylaws have little enforcement options except a fine, and that is only available on a few of the more than 1,000 city bylaws.

To begin with, the new graduated system will address the more common bylaw infractions, like zoning bylaws, unsightly premises and deer feeding. As council revisits the many bylaws on file they will either update them to be included in the new ticketing system, or discard those that are no longer relevant.

During the Monday, Feb. 18 council meeting, a 68th Avenue resident expressed concerns over his neighbor feeding the local deer, which is in violation of a current city bylaw.

Mayor Brian Taylor assured the man that the new graduated ticketing system will help curb the habitual deer feeding habit many local residents have. Feeding the deer encourages them to stay in town and perpetuates the deer issue throughout the city, according to the members of the deer committee.

Taylor had hoped by putting a deer feeding bylaw in place, it would have stopped the deer feeding, but it hasn’t.

“I thought that all we’d have to do was educate people and then there would be some compliance,” said Taylor, who believes the graduated system will be more effective.

Wayne Kopan, the current City of Grand Forks manager of environmental and building construction services, will be in charge of the bylaw services.

Bylaws will soon be more easily available with the introduction of an online reference system currently in the works, said Allin.


Categories: GeneralIssuesPolitics