Community Standards Bylaw passes second reading

A wall of garbage is created along a Grandin avenue hedge by wind-blown litter. Morinville will be participating in Operation Clean Sweep Wednesday.

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Town Council gave unanimous second reading to Morinville’s Community Standards Bylaw Tuesday night, moving ahead on Councillor Paul Krauskopf’s desire to see higher fines for third time offenders. Council voted 6-1 in favour of an amendment to the fee schedule for fines.

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.

Deputy Mayor Gordon Boddez, who had previously voiced his objection to increased fines because third-time offenders might not be able to afford them, was the single opposing vote to Krauskopf’s amendment.

The Community Standards Bylaw presented Tuesday night 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 bylaw, which could be passed as early as Aug. 9, 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. Deputy Mayor Gordon Boddez took some issue with property owners being penalized for something they did not do, but was assured the intent of the fine was to encourage the removal of graffiti as quickly as possible so as to not encourage more of the same.

The complete Community Standards Bylaw will be available on the Town of Morinville website and is set to come back before Morinville Town Council at their Aug. 9 meeting. Council is taking a summer break whereby they will not hold a second meeting in July.

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