Williams Lake residents wanting to submit a bylaw services complaint will no longer be able to over the phone.
The city said this week it has moved to a written-only format and will be accepting complaint forms online from the city’s web page or through paper copies of complaint forms which can be picked up and submitted at city hall front counter or at the fire hall from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Senior bylaw officer Brendan Foote told the Tribune Friday the department receives between 1,100 and 1,200 complaints a year and it will be more efficient to receive them in writing.
“With the online complaints, as soon as they hit submit an e-mail gets sent to our phones with all the details on that property,” Foote said. “We get that complaint almost immediately.”
Before when people left voice messages, he said, the department would not receive them until later in the day or the next day if the officers were out of the office following up on other complaints.
“With the new website there are a bunch of required fields so if we get the pertinent information up front, it makes our job a lot easier because we don’t have to follow up to get details such as property addresses and everything like that.”
The new system will cover both the bylaw department and the complainant because there will now be a paper trail, he added.
“They will get a copy of everything and we will get a copy of everything as far as a complaint goes so there will be more accountability.”
Foote said they take care of complaints as they come in and prioritize the ones involving health and safety concerns.
In Williams Lake bylaw enforcement officers deal with animal control and licensing, traffic and parking enforcement, unsightly premises, garbage and recycling cart offenses, sidewalk and snow removal, noise and zoning.