Regional Rundown: Bylaws 101: if it doesn’t work, fix it

I have had many compliments from visitors as well as residents on how our little town has improved in look and feel.

This week I would like to talk about the purpose of bylaws and how they are being used by a local government.

Most every profession uses tools. Loggers use chainsaws, construction workers use hammers, office workers use computers.  Bylaws are the tools of a municipality.

As with all tools, some work better than others. Some tools need upgrading. Some tools need replacing. Others will need adjusting to perform better. The same is true with bylaws.

As a municipality, we try to put bylaws in place that will assist us to create the type of community we want to live in. Sometimes we get it right; sometimes, not so much.

The Village of Canal Flats has had examples of both as of late. Until recently, we employed a Bylaw Enforcement Officer who enforced several of our bylaws in order to beautify and clean up some of the problem areas in the village. Since then, I have had many compliments from visitors (when I say visitors, I don’t necessarily mean tourists, but family and friends who haven’t been here in a while) as well as residents on how our little town has improved in look and feel.

On the flip side, there were some issues with parts of the Road and Traffic Bylaw. The bylaw prohibited any parking on boulevards for longer than 96 hours at a time, not including recreational vehicles. Council was petitioned by residents asking if we could allow RV and/or trailer parking during the summer months.  As a result, we made amendments to allow RVs and trailers (which include boat and quad trailers) from June 1st to September 30th. We also extended the parking duration from 96 to 120 hours to accommodate people working out of town during the week. The bylaw received three readings and was supposed to be adopted at our last council meeting. However, after a large group came to the meeting voicing concerns regarding some of the amendments, we rescinded third reading in order to have more discussion and possibly make additional changes.

The moral of this story is that no bylaw is written in stone and can be modified at any time. If the tool doesn’t work properly, it needs to be fixed or replaced.

Ute Juras is the mayor of Canal Flats and can be reached at 250-489-9070 or by e-mail at ujuras@gmail.com .

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