Central Okanagan  

Bylaw dispute program

Residents living within the Central Okanagan Regional District will soon have a new, cheaper avenue in which to dispute minor bylaw infractions.

The provincial government Friday accepted the Regional District`s request to join the Bylaw Adjudication System.

The RDCO joins other Central Okanagan municipalities including Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country, in the program.

The system eliminates the role of the courts and court registries in the administration and hearing of minor bylaw infraction disputes such as business licencing, animal control, water among others.

The program will cost the Regional District $3,900 to join.

RDCO Communications Officer, Bruce Smith, says there is a bit of work that needs to be done internally before the new dispute program can be instituted.

"We have to set up our forms and policies and procedures and get the actual process in place for the program. Then we have to bring a bylaw notice enforcement program bylaw forward for regional board consideration and adoption," says Smith.

"Once that is done and adopted then we can begin participating fully in the program."

Smith says the program is designed to hear cases involving minor bylaw infractions. Ones he says tend to have little room for dispute.

"Serious dog cases, aggressive and dangerous dog infractions will continue to be processed through the Community Charter and the Municipal Ticketing System. They are more complex and require a higher burden of proof. As a result they result in stricter measures of control," says Smith.

Smith says the new program will be quicker and cheaper for both the district and the the person disputing the ticket.

"The Bylaw Adjudication Program should be simpler, speedier, more cost effective to try and resolve any minor bylaw infractions and it will help us to direct bylaw cases away from the court system, hopefully resolving them much sooner and easier by the program."

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