A dearth of bylaw enforcement officers is to blame for delays in enforcing the city’s bylaws, according to Port Alberni city planner Scott Smith.
“While enforcement calls and expectations have been increasing, the city has not increased its resources for this function,” Smith said in a report presented at the Oct. 14 city council meeting. He noted if calls continue at the rate they are currently at, 2014 will see a 30 per cent increase in calls compared to 2013.
The bylaw enforcement officer currently has 140 cases open.
Compared to other Vancouver Island cities who receive similar amounts of calls, Port Alberni has only one bylaw enforcement officer compared to two in Campbell River and three in Parksville. Both of those cities also have one administrative staff member each, while Port Alberni does not. As such, Port Alberni’s bylaw enforcement officer deals with two to three times the calls that the other cities do.
While one option to improve the situation is to add a second bylaw enforcement officer, Coun. Hira Chopra said that was the easy fix and that he’d like to see other options that would not include adding another employee.
Smith told council that the planning department would come up with a range of options for city councillors to consider at the next council meeting.