A rock and a hard place

A rock and a hard place

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LyonelYet again one of the Town’s bylaws has come back to bite council, leaving it in a quandary.

A local resident complained about the Thompsons’ tractor truck parked in their driveway on Morningstar Road.

The couple is technically in contravention of the parking regulation bylaw that states you cannot store or park any vehicle that weighs more than 4,500 kilograms on your property in a residential zone. (The ordinance does not pertain to recreational vehicles.)

Council has a tough decision to make – to enforce the bylaw or let the Thompsons continue breaking the rules.

If the Town turns the other cheek, it could see more people challenging the bylaw and storing/maintaining large vehicles on their property, which could negatively impact the neighbours.

If council stands firm on the rules, it could negatively impact the Thompsons’ livelihood and earn the reputation of being the “bad guys.”

Several of the Thompsons’ immediate neighbours have no problem with the tractor unit parked in the driveway. (Check out their comments on page 3 and our Facebook page.)

As many residents know, our bylaws are only enforced when someone complains. You can have the quietest, most well behaved dogs in town, but if your neighbour doesn’t like you, he or she may call the bylaw officer because you have more canines than the rules allow.

That has happened in the past and sadly the dog owner has had to get rid of one of their pets.

Complaint-based enforcement can create a lot of problems in the community.

A contravention may only bother one of the neighbours (as in this case), so does that mean you come down hard on someone because of one complaint? And like one Town councillor put it, the complaint could be malicious in nature.

But rules are rules, and if you don’t enforce them, you may have every Tom, Dick and Harry coming out of the woodwork flouting our bylaws. Yet we have been told by the Town on more than one occasion that it has no legal obligation to enforce its bylaws.

One option is surveying the neighbours to see if they have a problem with the contravention. If nine out of 10 don’t, you can decide not to take action.

In the event the homeowner in question starts to abuse the privilege, council can rely on a clause to revoke this privilege and enforce the bylaw.

Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

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