The District of Lantzville hopes residents will go ahead and be good neighbours, but just in case, a new bylaw is being put in place.
Lantzville council, at a meeting in the fall, will vote again on third reading of a good neighbour bylaw after three readings previously passed by a 3-2 vote in late spring.
The bylaw is largely a collection of existing bylaws and covers topics such as unsightly premises, noise, vehicle idling, graffiti cleanup, beach use and overnight camping in public parks for those experiencing homelessness.
Trudy Coates, director of corporate administration, said the purpose of the bylaw isn’t 100-per cent enforcement. She said sometimes residents aren’t comfortable raising concerns with their neighbours and in some cases, don’t know what sort of laws and bylaws apply to situations that arise.
“It’s really about public education, seeking voluntary compliance,” she said.
Lantzville councillors went over the bylaw clause by clause over the course of two meetings this past spring, making about half a dozen changes to the wording of various clauses.
Coun. Jamie Wilson was among the majority of council in favour of the good neighbour bylaw, saying it would help Lantzville “grow up as a municipality” but didn’t represent major change.
“So many of these bylaws were already in place. This isn’t a wholesale [change], it’s just about consolidating everything under one hat,” he said. “Yeah, there’s a few other things in there that I think are just good additions.”
Coun. Will Geselbracht, who also voted in favour of the bylaw, noted that a neighbourhood dispute about urban farming “left a major scar” in the community.
“I think this bylaw, this good neighbour bylaw or the bad neighbour bylaw, if you will, is proactive, to be ready to defuse situations that might arise between neighbours who have differing opinions of what they can and can’t do,” he said.
Coun. Karen Proctor was also in favour, while Coun. Ian Savage and Mayor Mark Swain were opposed.
Savage suggested owners of rural properties might find it onerous to comply with the bylaw and suggested the list of rules wasn’t necessary.
“You just do it slowly, incrementally, as the problems arise, when it’s a clear problem and people are totally on board for supporting a solution for that problem,” he said. “But just to have wholesale change like this, I think will have unexpected consequences and you really haven’t brought the community along with it.”
Swain indicated he was voting against the bylaw due to lack of public consultation.
Three readings were passed in June, but at a meeting in July, Wilson indicated he wanted another look at some of the items in the bylaw and asked that third reading be rescinded and brought back to council in September.