Community Standards Bylaw passes third reading

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – A new bylaw that puts some teeth into property and personal conduct standards within Morinville became official Tuesday night. Morinville Town Council gave unanimous third reading to the Community Standards Bylaw at its Aug. 9 meeting, implementing various tweaks and revisions the bylaw developed since being given first reading June 28.

The most recent of those revisions was an increase in fines for third time offenders for certain infractions, something that had been included in Council’s 6-1 second reading vote July 12. That amendment would see third offence fines for nuisance odours, unsafe excavations and construction debris rise from $400 for a second offence to $600 on third and subsequent infractions. Those who leave appliances in an unsafe condition outdoors would see a fine of $300 on a third and subsequent offence rather than the $200 one would receive on a second offence.

The Community Standards Bylaw was originally presented in mid-May and trimmed down by legal counsel in time for its first reading June 28. Under legal advice, administration had trimmed regulations on loitering and fighting, something already covered by senior government legislation. However, it is believed there is still plenty in the new bylaw to meet the growing needs of the community.

The now passed bylaw provides a better understanding of enforcement for unsightly premises and construction sites as well as the unsafe storage of appliances and debris.

Noise and odour were dealt with differently in the bylaw. Reference to noise was removed from the standards bylaw prior to June 28’s first reading because Morinville’s existing noise bylaw stands on its own. Reference to odour in the Community Standards Bylaw has been preserved and worded in such a way as to not encroach on senior government legislation, including environmental standards. Under the category of nuisances, residents would be required to “refrain from engaging in any activity or use of their property that results in the production of offensive odours, excessive dust or smoke, or similar conditions which represent a nuisance to adjacent owners or the general public in the area of their property.”
Also addressed in the new bylaw is undesirable public behaviour, including littering, urinating and defecating. The fine for leaving unwelcomed deposits, bodily or otherwise is $150 for a first offence and $300 for each subsequent infraction.
Other undesirable behaviour addressed by the bylaw is graffiti. Home and business owners hit by taggers could receive a $150 fine for failing to remove graffiti on their property, $300 for a subsequent offence.

At the Aug. 9 meeting, Deputy Mayor Gordon Boddez requested administration to provide feedback to council as the bylaw is rolled out and implemented. Boddez said it is incumbent on council to have feedback from administration on the new bylaw to prepare for modifications to the bylaw as time progresses.

The Community Standards Bylaw will now go through a period of introduction to the public through education, correction and enforcement. The bylaw is available for residents to view at www.morinville.ca.

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