Bylaw approach needs review

Bylaw approach needs review


If Christian Blazicevic was growing a different kind of “weed” on Fairview Road, he’d really be in trouble with the Town . . . and the cops.

But it’s only puncture vine, and you can’t smoke that. Unfortunately, Mr. B is a victim of protocol when it comes to bylaw enforcement.

Town officials are not callous people; they are quite reasonable, but they should revisit how they approach enforcement issues

For example, if the bylaw officer had spoken to Mr. B in person, the registered letter would not have been necessary. (Those letters tend to breed contempt.)

You can’t help but sympathize with an 80-year-old guy who can barely walk. Because of his ailments, he has to hire people to maintain his yard, which is not unsightly compared to other properties in Oliver.

The puncture vine on the boulevard in front of his home didn’t appear to warrant a registered letter. A photograph prior to cleanup shows that the weed wasn’t overly invasive, unlike the puncture vine growing rampantly on the Town’s lot next door.

We visited Mr. B’s property and didn’t find much to complain about (but one of his neighbours obviously did). A lot of properties have puncture vine growing out front; it’s a nasty weed to keep on top of. Even the Town is having difficulty getting rid of it.

Perhaps before sending a registered letter regarding an unsightly premise, the Town should quickly look out the window to determine if its own properties are in order.

The enforcement process might benefit from a different approach. Instead of initially sending a registered letter, the bylaw officer should knock on the door and let the homeowner know about the complaint, and give the person a week to address it. If it’s not done, then send the letter.

Most people with scruples tend to comply with a friendly reminder of the bylaw. But a letter that warns of fines and other consequences sticks in your craw and makes the hair on your neck stand up.

Okay, put up your dukes, this is war.

There are properties in Oliver that need an extreme makeover, and this is where the Town needs to get tough. Taking an old guy to task over some puncture vine doesn’t seem fair in this case.

Lyonel Doherty