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City looks to beef up bylaw fines, says process has become ineffective

The city wants to put more bite with its bark when it comes to fining people who break certain bylaws – a process a new report suggests has become ineffective.

The report to the Public Works committee recommends beefing up the city’s streets bylaw.

“Currently, many people still break these right-of-way-related rules,” the report reads. “The Public Service believes that one reason for this is that the penalties (costs) are too low to be effective.”

It said, as an example, a contractor that blocks a sidewalk or road without a proper permit could be fined $250. However, if paid early, the fine would be dropped to $150, while the cost of a permit is $128.

Because the fine is only $22 more than the cost of the permit, the process becomes ineffective.

“I’ve talked to people from other cities who come here and are actually rather shocked to see the situation – the way the sites are left at night, the way the redirection is,” said Coun. Janice Lukes, chair of the Public Works committee.

“This is trying to better enforce the rules that we have. Will it make a difference? I hope so.”

The report recommends changes to the bylaw so the fines will become a better deterrence. It wants to increase fines for certain infractions, do away with the early payment discount for all street bylaw infractions, and create higher fines for corporations that break the rules.

A breakdown of the proposed changes can be viewed on the Public Works agenda.

Lukes said another issue is the small number of enforcement officers handing out these tickets. There are currently four special constables assigned to enforce bylaws.

The report said not only would these changes make the deterrent of the fine more effective, it would make better use of the limited resources available to enforce the bylaw.

The report is set to be discussed at the Public Works committee next week.

-with files from CTV’s Jeff Keele

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