By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
The Town of Castor is bringing in a new standard procedure to deal with bylaw infractions in town.
The first step will be a warning letter about whatever bylaw has been broken, and a 72-hour time frame to correct the matter at hand. If the situation is not resolved within 72 hours, the Town will issue a fine and an enforcement order to resolve the matter.
Once the enforcement order is in place, the resident will have 14 days to comply with the order, even if it is appealed. After 14 days, if the infraction is not corrected, the Town will issue a second fine, and send Town employees to resolve the issue, charging the resident the cost plus for their staff time.
An example where this new procedure could be used is in the instance of unkempt lawns.
If a Town bylaw officer sees that someone’s lawn is getting too tall or unkempt, he would leave a door hanger notifying them of the infraction and triggering the 72 hours to cut the lawn. If the lawn was not cut within 72 hours, a fine and enforcement order would follow.
“We’re firming up the process,” said CAO Christopher Robblee during the May 27th council meeting.
“We are allowed to do this under our current bylaws. We’re just not using it effectively or consistently.”
The new procedure will speed up a process which historically has dragged on for weeks in years past, however it is not something the Town can use indiscriminately.
Ultimately the burden of proof for any bylaw infractions rests with the municipality. In other words, they must be able to prove an infraction before the process is triggered.
That proof can be witnessed by the bylaw officer, who then fills out an affidavit, or unwitnessed, where a resident complains to the Town about an alleged infraction with a signed letter.
“Put it on paper,” said Robblee. “If enough people complain, I can send a letter reminding people of the bylaw.”