Dog and animal concerns have topped the number of calls to Williams Lake’s bylaw services over the last three years, followed by excess nuisance, parking and traffic.
Senior Bylaw Services officer Evan Dean provided a report during committee of the whole meeting Tuesday evening, May 18, and shared statistics from the last three years as well as the first quarter of 2021.
In 2020 there were 126 dog and animal, 118 excess nuisance and 86 parking/traffic complaints.
Tickets issued for the year included 142 for parking and traffic, 43 for animal control, 62 at the airport, 18 under the good neighbour bylaw and 12 under other.
Dean transferred from his position as manager of RCMP municipal services in March to become the senior bylaw officer and said part of his new role will be to provide regular updates to mayor and council.
He said COVID-19 has impacted bylaw services and reduced the opportunity for face-to-face interaction. In the coming months the plan is to focus more attention on community engagement.
“Examples of that are renewed co-operation with the Williams Lake RCMP with regards to the excess nuisance process. I’m hoping to meet fairly shortly with the new detachment commander. We’ve also been working directly with property managers to improve compliance with things like animal control and good neighbour and traffic control bylaws.”
There is an excess nuisance portion of the city’s good neighbour bylaw that allows the city to issue a $1,080-fee to property owners for repeated calls for service to either the bylaw division or the RCMP.
“The RCMP provides us with the information and the city follows up with the billing,” Dean said.
Additionally, there is an option for a $500 excessive noise ticket, which is issued directly to an individual.
Mayor Walt Cobb told Dean he continually receives complaints about people parking all day long in front of someone else’s business.
“I would like to see what we might look at for a more consistent patrol or regular patrol or the possibility of a summer student – someone who could go around and do parking. There’s no use having two-hour parking if we are not going to police it.”
Dean said anyone wanting to contact the bylaw department is asked go through the city’s website to enter a bylaw complaint.
“We prefer that most because it allows us to keep better track of everything and keeps us accountable,” he explained, noting he and the other bylaw officer get all emails right away.
The policy is written-complaints only, to ensure there is a record kept of every request, he added, noting complaint forms are available at city hall and the fire hall.
While there is not a formal response timeline, he said they do their best to respond the same day.
“Of course if it’s after hours we’ll get to you the first thing the next morning. I know I have personally responded to a couple of people on the weekend because their issue seemed fairly significant and I did not want them to think that it was going to get missed.”