Town council looks at behaviour bylaw

Town councillors considered options on a draft behaviour bylaw that will deal with troublemakers in town.

Town councillors considered options on a draft behaviour bylaw that will deal with troublemakers in town.

Council looked at potential changes to the draft behaviour bylaw that could deal out fines for individuals Tuesday, March 17 during a committee of the whole meeting.

Some issues in the behaviour bylaw deal with urinating in the streets, fighting in public, panhandling, spitting in public and loitering. Mayor Rick Bonnett said the fines in the bylaw are meant as a deterrent for potential troublemakers.

“It’s for the two per cent, not the 98 per cent,” said Bonnett.

Ted Dillon, director of protective services, told councillors that many of the issues in the draft bylaw give police an option to deal with individuals without it becoming a criminal code issue. If the person is a minor, they can still receive a fine but will not have to go through the courts.

Bonnett said the bylaw also gives the police the right to speak with a person who breaks one of the bylaws. He hopes it will also stop people from fighting, especially if they know they will receive a $250 fine for fighting in public.

Coun. Carla Prediger would like to hear from Ponoka RCMP with their thoughts on the bylaw. No decisions were made as this was a committee of the whole meeting.

Snow removal

Councillors also looked at putting more “teeth” into the snow removal enforcement policy and snow and ice removal from sidewalks.

Bonnett suggests that a fine for not removing snow from a sidewalk may get homeowners to clear their sidewalk. “I don’t want to fine people, I want to get them motivated.”

Dillon told council that the ultimate responsibility for clearing a sidewalk falls on the homeowner. If there are renters, the responsibility is still on the homeowner. He said the biggest challenge in enforcement is when there are several snow falls in a short period of time.

Dillon suggested that for any complaints on snow removal council, or the individual raising a concern should complete an occurrence report. This will ensure the town can track the issue and see if it has been rectified.

On all the discussions regarding handing out fines, council requested administration change the wording from “may” fine a person to “shall” or “will” fine a person.

Council passed first reading on the bylaw last year, giving time to look at making changes to the draft and receive feedback on it.