by Colin Smith
Morinville now has a new set of guidelines for public behaviour, with the passage of the Community Standards Bylaw by Town Council at its Feb. 25 Regular Meeting.
The new Bylaw consolidates all public behaviour and enforceable property matters and replaces the Community Services, Parkland, Vandalism, Noise Control and Firearms bylaws.
The Bylaw introduces acceptable standards for noise, both day and night, based on decibel levels, nature and duration of the sound. Penalties for a noise offence start at $250.
William Norton, Morinville’s Director of Enforcement Services, told Council that for the purposes of the Bylaw, the noise decibel level is measured at the place for which the complaint is made, not where the sound originates.
Panhandling in an aggressive manner is an offence under the Bylaw. That includes doing so while intoxicated by alcohol or under the influence of non-prescription drugs.
Also considered aggressive panhandling is making continued requests or solicitations after receiving a negative response from another person; obstructing or impeding the passage of another person; insulting, threatening, coercing or intimidating another person; or making physical contact with another person.
Loitering and camping in a park without permission are also not allowed.
Councillor Stephen Dafoe praised the Administration for its work in developing the panhandling and loitering provisions.
Directing lights or cameras into people’s dwellings, using projectiles in public, creating graffiti and destroying wildlife habitats are also restricted or banned under the Bylaw.
A new requirement to remove graffiti from buildings within 72 hours is among changes relating to property maintenance.
The 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 is banned. Restrictions are also introduced on the 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.
The new Bylaw enables law enforcement personnel to address various types of physical, nuisance and mischief complaints without having to rely on the Criminal Code of Canada.
Rather than the minimum seven days notice previously required, enforcement orders will now come into effect with reasonable notice.