A bylaw dispute adjudication system is in the works for the city of Williams Lake.
“It will be a process for staff to deal with minor bylaw offences without going into the court system,” acting CAO Geoff Goodall said.
The existing system requires that if fines are not paid then the city has to go to court.
“It’s a long and very expensive process for the city. Adjudication is a different system the city can use to deal with those fines themselves.” It will mean that every single bylaw the city applies adjudication to will have to be amended, Goodall added.
“We have a lot of bylaws, but adjudication is only applicable to what is classified as low cost fines, only up to a maximum of $500. Once you go beyond $500 you cannot use adjudication.”
Acting mayor Ivan Bonnell said council can anticipate dealing with a “whole lot of bylaws,” to which Coun. Laurie Walters said “it’s time.”
Council received a report on the proposed timeline in relation to the implementation process for the BylawDispute Adjudication System at the June 18 meeting, including a rough timeline for implementation of the entire process.
Once approval is granted from the Ministry of Justice, hopefully in September 2013, the city will prepare a draft offence notice enforcement bylaw, review it in October, create new violation tickets in November, train enforcement officers in December, and begin implementing the new process in January 2014.
Coun. Surinderpal Rathor said he’s happy with the proposal because sometimes it costs the city “dollars to collect dimes.”
“As our court system has been as busy at it is, you don’t get to deal with the issue for a long time. So it’s better to have this system. It will be more efficient if the courts don’t have to deal with these minor issues,” Rathor said.
“This process will also allow the city to forward all unpaid tickets to a collection agency for follow-up and does not require a court order or personal service which saves both money and court and employee time, as well as it is hoped will improve compliance as offenders will now be held accountable for unpaid fines,” the city noted in a press release.