Regional district moves towards joining province's bylaw adjudication system

Fraser-Fort George Regional District directors took a step Thursday towards signing onto a provincially-run system for resolving disputes over minor bylaw infractions.

Under the bylaw notice adjudication system, an FFGRD bylaw enforcement officer would have the authority to issue tickets carrying fines of up to $500 for alleged infractions. In turn, those who dispute the tickets would be able to take their issues to a provincially-appointed adjudicator.

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As it stands, the FFGRD seeks voluntary compliance as a first step in dealing with alleged bylaw infractions. If that cannot be obtained, the matter is taken to court. According to a staff report to directors, giving the officer the power to issue a ticket and the receiver to take it to an adjudicator would act as "intermediate enforcement tool" between voluntary compliance and going to court.

Hearings would be held twice a year and the adjudicator would be appointed by the province's deputy attorney general. At a cost of $4,000 per year, the system is seen as less costly than turning to the court.

"The bylaw notice adjudication system is a simply, fair and cost effective system for dealing with bylaw infractions," staff say in the report.

Currently, over 90 municipalities and regional districts - including the City of Prince George - are using the system, which was created in 2003 through provincial legislation as an alternative.

On Thursday, staff was directed to ask the B.C. Attorney General to add the FFGRD to that list, a process expected to take about three months.

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