The Regional District of Central Kootenay is the latest local government to join a bylaw adjudication system where minor infractions can be disputed before an independent adjudicator instead of taken to court.
The bylaw adjudication system is offered through the Ministry of Justice and is intended to save local governments time and money and make more efficient use of court resources.
Each jurisdiction determines which bylaws it would like included in the process. The RDCK plans to use the system to enforce noise complaints, animal control, unsightly premises, building, some zoning and other similar bylaw disputes.
“The Regional District of Central Kootenay is looking forward to implementing the bylaw dispute adjudication system, which we anticipate will save and help recover costs related to bylaw infractions,” chair John Kettle said in a news release. “Ultimately, our taxpayers will be the beneficiaries of this program.”
“Taking a matter to court can be a lengthy process. This system saves people time and helps reduce pressure on the courts without increasing costs to taxpayers,” Attorney General and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said in the same release. With the addition of the Regional District of Central Kootenay, 65 local governments are now using or developing the bylaw adjudication system, she said.
The City of Nelson has been using a bylaw adjudication process for more than two years. In that time, only three cases have proceeded to actual adjudication hearings, with the city winning each time.
However, the police department has said it consumes a lot of their time, as officers administer the process. The city writes 1,200 tickets each month, of which about 50 are disputed.