The Regional District of Central Kootenay and City of Nelson will share the cost of bringing an adjudicator to town in cases of disputed bylaw tickets.
Corporate officer Anitra Winje said they will contract with Apex Dispute Resolution of Vancouver, which is already providing the service to Nelson.
“To save costs for the local government and our disputants, we’ve opted to go with Apex as well,” she said.
The adjudication program, which has been embraced by about 70 other local governments, is intended to prevent disputed tickets from going to court.
The regional district signed on to the program with the Ministry of Justice last fall, but bylaws making it a reality were only adopted last week. “They are encouraging local governments not only to implement this process but to cost share, such as we will be doing with the City of Nelson,” Winje said.
The RDCK plans to use the system to enforce noise complaints, animal control, unsightly premises, building, and some zoning bylaws.
Winje said the process should make it be easier both for their bylaw enforcement officers to achieve compliance and for people who challenge tickets. They no longer need to appear in person, but can participate by phone or letter.
She said tickets don’t often end up in court, but it depends on the severity of the infraction. Even with the adjudication system, the regional district still has the option of going to court to enforce its bylaws.
Winje said they have a communication plan to help the public understand how the new process works.
The City of Nelson has been using bylaw adjudication for about three years. In that time, only three cases have proceeded to actual hearings, with the city winning each time.
The maximum penalty under the system is $500.