Offering fewer warnings and more tickets, the city’s bylaw enforcement officers have their sights set on sending a message this year.
“We really stepped up enforcement when it comes to tickets,” acting bylaw enforcement manager Suzanne Stubbs said. “We’re not being lenient anymore, we’re hitting up everything.”
The first six months of 2012 have seen an almost 60 per cent spike in municipal bylaw tickets handed out compared to this time last year. This represents an additional 74 tickets, bringing the total as of June 30 to 199.
Of these tickets, many have stemmed from violations in the city’s downtown core, mainly as a result of increased enforcement.
“Right now we’ve got downtown visibility,” Stubbs explained. “We’ve got bylaw there as well as foot patrol.”
Complemented by a summer student, the foot patrols take place throughout the summer months, adding friendly faces to downtown enforcement.
Infractions in the city’s downtown core include crossing the street at intersections in spite of the glowing red hand indicating it’s unsafe to do so, spitting and riding bicycles and skateboards on the sidewalks.
“We’ve been hitting that hard,” Stubbs said of these means of transportation in the downtown area, noting that enforcement on this front has resulted some success.
“Now, when you go downtown they’re on the street, so that’s good,” she said.
Mainly elsewhere in the city, one area of bylaw infractions that stick out is related to pets. These infractions mostly include dogs off leash and cats and dogs without city-issued pet licences.
Pet licences ensure the safety and security of cats and dogs, ensuring bylaw officers and those at the SPCA are able to easily find pet owners and return them home.
We’re not being lenient anymore, we’re hitting up everything. - Acting bylaw enforcement manager Suzanne Stubbs
Licences for cats and dogs cost $20 for neutered animals or those less than six months in age. Non-neutered licences cost $40 — an amount going up to $60 next year.
As for the bylaw preventing dogs from roaming, it’s a safety issue for both dogs and the public, Stubbs said.
With the bylaw entering its seventh year, Stubbs noted that some people don’t seem to be getting the message.
“There are even people that we gave tickets to three times,” she said. “You’d think they’d learn their lesson after one.”
So far this year, 46 tickets related to pet infractions have been issued — a 70.4 per cent jump from last year’s 27 at this time of year.
Property-related infractions are down this year, with 58 unsightly properties reported so far this year. At this point of the year in 2011, 80 had been reported.
“People are really starting to maintain their properties,” Stubbs noted.
Should an unsightly property be noted by a bylaw enforcement officer or brought to the attention by a member of the public, the first step is a letter of warning, which can be potentially followed through with legal action should the property owner not comply.
Although “unsightly” is up to bylaw officers’ discretion, Stubbs said that it’s pretty obvious when a property is unsightly.
Bylaw infractions can be called in to the city’s bylaw enforcement department at 953-4222.