Back off new city bylaws

Residents need to start taking a bit more personal responsibility to ease up on the bylaw enforcement officer we already have.

The City of Port Alberni needs a second bylaw officer. Or else residents need to start taking a bit more personal responsibility to ease up on the officer we already have.

Council’s decision Monday night to create a voluntary ban instead of a bylaw on smoking in public parks underlines this succinctly.

Parks, Recreation and Heritage director Scott Kenny has flat out said he would not support such a bylaw because the city has no way of enforcing it.

(‘We don’t need bylaw enforcement going around with water guns and scissors,’ he told council.)

A ban, however, puts the onus back on park visitors to butt out, or ask others to do so.

The city has more than 4,700 bylaws on its books. Some are devised for financial or land use decisions. Others are no doubt antiquated.

Many are unenforceable simply because one person cannot humanly answer all the calls for bylaw infractions.

City planner Scott Smith presented three scenarios to council for solving the bylaw enforcement crunch in the 2015 budget, including a new full-time bylaw officer, a half-time officer or spending an additional $16,000 to operate the SPCA on Mondays, so the bylaw officer doesn’t have to deal with animal control calls on that day.

At the very least, the city should investigate that third option for one year to see whether this takes some of the pressure off the single bylaw officer we do have.

— Alberni Valley News