Lantzville switching to adjudication system to resolve bylaw disputes

Adjudication would avoid the need to hire legal counsel, says staff report

When it comes to resolving certain bylaw infractions, the District of Lantzville has decided provincial court is no longer the way to go.

Lantzville councillors, during a council meeting on Sept. 9, voted unanimously in favour of requesting that the Ministry of the Attorney General allow the district to practice bylaw notice adjudication.

If granted, Lantzville would move to a system whereby certain bylaw disputes would be resolved through adjudication and not in provincial court, as is currently the case.

Presently, Lantzville uses a system known as MTI to issue bylaw contravention tickets, according to a staff report, which notes that those tickets require “personal service” and if disputed, can only be dealt with in provincial court.

According to the report, the bylaw notice adjudication system is a “simple” and cost-effective alternative to the provincial court for resolving minor bylaw infractions such as parking tickets, dog licensing and minor zoning issues.

The report also states that the system uses a “resolution-based” approach that obtains “independently” adjudicated decisions and avoids the need for Lantzville to hire legal counsel during bylaw disputes.

The bylaw notice adjudication system is currently used by more than 80 local governments in B.C., including the City of Nanaimo and City of Duncan.

RELATED: RDN will try to settle bylaw disputes outside the court system

An additional benefit, the report notes, is that municipalities can “join together” to administer the system on a cost-sharing basis.

During the Sept. 9 meeting, Ronald Campbell, the district’s chief administrative officer, told councillors the motion is the “first step” in a process designed to move Lantzville away from the court system and into an adjudication system. He said the adjudication system is streamlined and more efficient.

“What it does is it takes us away from the court system from a time perspective and a cost perspective,” he said. “So once a month or once every two months, the City of Nanaimo will bring in an adjudicator, they will go through all the bylaw infractions and make decisions on them.”

Campbell said the Regional District of Nanaimo, which the district contracts to enforce its own bylaws, just switched the adjudication system. He said the system allows for the fines to be added to an individual’s yearly tax bill.

“If it is a bylaw infraction that doesn’t include parking and the adjudicator rules against the person that was fined, it can be added to the taxes,” Campbell said. “So, it streamlines the whole process.”

Campbell did not provide an estimate as to how much money would be saved by switching to the adjudication system but said the next step would be for council to determine which bylaws would fall under the new system if approved and registered by the province.

“This gets us registered with the province so that we can join that and then there are several other steps that will be coming forward to council, like a new bylaw, new fine rates, etc.,” he said.

Coun. Ian Savage said while he likes efficiency and is supportive of the motion, he worries it could lead to an increase in bylaws.

“I just want to make sure though, that this isn’t the first step in that track of going down more and more bylaws and more and more bylaw enforcement and more and more money to pay for extra bylaw officers we will need for that enforcement,” he said, adding that Lantzville is “light” on bylaws and bylaw enforcement.

Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain said he believes the system will make things a lot more efficient for dealing with bylaw issues within the community.

“This is a lot cleaner for the smaller bylaw infractions,” he said. “So, I will definitely be supporting this.”







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

Lantzville

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo releases his new single, Christine, on Oct. 30. (Photo courtesy Andrew Dodd)
Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo evokes return to good times with new single

Upcoming release ‘Christine’ among a dozen new songs written during pandemic

Premier John Horgan heads to his ride following his announcement that there will be a fall election as he speaks during a press conference in Langford in September. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)
Editorial: Majority needs to work for all British Columbians

Concepts of co-operation change as we go from an NDP minority to a majority

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who rammed a police car to escape an arrest attempt. (File photo)
Drug trafficking suspect rams police vehicle in Nanaimo and escapes arrest

Suspect still at large after fleeing from police in Harewood on Friday afternoon

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical health officer, immunizes Victoria Schmid, Island Health’s vice-president of pandemic planning. (Submitted photo)
Island Health advising people to get a flu shot

People looking to get vaccinated should book an appointment, says Island Health

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Freighter drags anchor towards Boulder Point Oct. 22. It came within 730 metres of the shore, according to maps from the Port of Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages along the South Coast

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Most Read