By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – First quarter statistics released at the May 8 meeting of Morinville Town Council show peace officers responded to 65 per cent more bylaw matters than in the last quarter of 2011. During the quarter peace officers dealt with 370 bylaw-related issues but issued only eight tickets during that time. While the ticket-to-issue ratio is low, it is a 100 per cent increase from the four tickets in 224 complaints issued during the last quarter of 2011.
In outlining the report, Morinville’s Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Oyarzun said much of the work of bylaw enforcement is education. However, she has made arrangements with the Morinville RCMP Detachment to provide direct supervision to Morinville’s two Community Peace Officers to get a good balance of enforcement and education.
“Not that we want to go on a hard swing towards tickets,” Oyarzun said, adding she does want to see a better balance between education and enforcement.
For the first time the quarterly report identifies the specific bylaw complaints during the quarter. The majority of complaints or calls dealt with icy sidewalks. Peace Officers hand delivered 149 sidewalk notices about removing ice and snow and gave nine verbal notices on the same topic. Fifty-five return visits were made to deal with icy sidewalks but no tickets were issued.
Illegally parked cars and dogs at large were the second and third largest in complaints at 24 and 17 calls respectively. This was followed by nine complaints about odours from Champion Petfoods.
Of the eight offence tickets issue during the first quarter, six were for failing to obtain a dog licence, one ticket for operating without a business licence and one bylaw warrant issued to Wood Buffalo.
The increase in bylaw matters reduced the amount of time the Town’s two CPOs spent on provincial traffic matters, another facet of their role in the community.
Provincial traffic tickets declined by 61 per cent to just 57 tickets and 54 warnings issued during the quarter. Topping the list of tickets were 10 expired registration violations, six speeding tickets and five tickets for failing to obey a stop sign. Other common tickets were distracted driving and having expired or no insurance. On the warning side of the enforcement fence CPOs issued nine warnings for obscured licence plates. Other warnings included failing to obey a stop sign and expired licence plates. During the period Peace Officers identified and reported two impaired drivers to their RCMP counterparts.