Council gave the first three readings May 7 to five of the city’s bylaws receiving an upgrade.
Speaking to city council, senior bylaw officer Grant Martin covered the proposed changes to bylaws dealing with security alarm systems, graffiti, parking between First Avenue North and Mackenzie Avenue, noise control and nuisance abatement.
In the alarm bylaw there is an existing exemption for being charged a fee or having the alarm count as one of your free ones if you’re registered, if cancellation occurs prior to the arrival of the fire department or the RCMP or within five minutes of the dispatch being received.
“That becomes a problem because when a call comes into, especially the fire department, once they do a page they’re having anywhere from 10 to 30 people jumping into their vehicles already.
Even if a person cancels within five minutes, many times the RCMP are there already, and many times the fire department are well on their way, so it’s costing the city. They are still paying.”
It doesn’t fit, Martin said. With the registration people are allowed two alarms they aren’t billed for, but with the fire department getting involved the community’s being put at danger because they are responding to a Code 3 with lights and sirens on.
Other changes to the bylaw are around housekeeping.
“There’s talk of appealing to an advisory board, but we don’t have one,” Martin used as an example.
False alarm calls to the RCMP have dropped by one third since 2010, from 850 to 565 in 2012, Mayor Kerry Cook noted, while false fire alarms have increased.
False fire alarms have increased from 75 in 2010 to 88 in 2012, however, which Martin said may be due to some businesses having problems with their alarms.
The major change to the graffiti bylaw is around the content of the graffiti.
In working with the RCMP, the bylaw office has decided if graffiti is offensive or gang related it needs to be removed within 48 hours if it demeans a person or group or class of persons based on race, colour, ancestry place of origin, religion, physical or mental disability, sex or sexual orientation of such person or group or class of persons or is deemed by the RCMP and/or bylaw department to be gang related and/or offensive.”