Town consolidating multiple bylaws into one Community Standards Bylaw

by Colin Smith

Morinville is a step closer to having a new set of guidelines for public behaviour with first reading of a proposed Community Standards Bylaw by Town Council on January 14.

The proposed bylaw was first presented to Council at its November 19 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Drafting of the bylaw follows a review mandated by the existing Community Standards Bylaw passed in 2017.

Its intent is to consolidate all public behavior and enforceable property matters in one bylaw. Noise, property standards, parkland, vandalism, public behaviour, and nuisances are among the areas considered.

Changes that Morinville residents could see if the proposed bylaw is passed include the ability to legally drink alcohol in the park and a requirement to remove graffiti from buildings within 72 hours.

Decibel-based noise standards for both day and night would be introduced, while directing lights or cameras into people’s dwellings, using projectiles and destroying wildlife habitat would be restricted.

Law enforcement personnel would be enabled by a new bylaw section to address various types of physical, nuisance and mischief complaints without having to rely on the Criminal Code of Canada.

Camping in a park without permission will not be allowed.

The proposed bylaw sees some substantial changes relating to property maintenance.

The proposed bylaw requires structures that are unfit for human habitation to be returned to habitable condition or demolished within two years.

Directing water from eavestroughs towards neighbouring properties and sidewalks would be banned. Restrictions are also introduced on storage of industrial fluids and the accumulation of hazardous materials such as paint, oil, antifreeze, petroleum products, pesticides and disinfectants.

Refrigerators, freezers and similar appliances are not allowed outside of a building unless they are on the rear of a property in working condition.

Rather than the minimum seven days notice required by the current bylaw, enforcement orders would now come into effect with reasonable notice.

According to an Administration summary, the bylaw is designed to maintain the original spirit and intent of the measures in all affected bylaws. Changes were to be consistent with other Town of Morinville bylaws, where possible, including definitions and expectations.

Changes to improve enforcement and prosecution activities suggested by legal counsel have been incorporated into the proposed bylaw since the Committee of the Whole meeting.

The bylaw will go back before Council for consideration of Second Reading at its February 25 meeting.

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