Bylaw Enforcement

Bylaw Enforcement
 
The District of Barriere Bylaw Enforcement service is provided through the Corporate Services Department to promote bylaw compliance through civic responsibility and good neighbour practices as they relate to various property maintenance standards, nuisance, noise, parking, traffic, business licence, zoning, building violations, and litter bylaws for example. 

The District's Bylaw Enforcement Officer investigates complaints about alleged violations and answers general inquiries relating to interpretation of these bylaws.  Priority is given to those complaints regarding health or public safety issues, otherwise all complaints are dealt with in order of receipt.  In determining if action is necessary, staff takes into consideration the impact, the number of complaints on the same issue, the duration of the offence, short and long term impact, and the resources available to resolve the complaint.  Not all complaints require action or intervention by the District as some issues are actually a civil or criminal matter between the two property owners. 

Animal Control:  The District of Barriere does not provide Animal Control Services. Without the necessary dog licensing bylaw, means of apprehending and animal via trained personnel, vehicle & equipment, and a location to take the animal to, enforcement in this area is not feasible.  More information regarding this topic can be viewed in a staff report considered at a past Council Meeting by clicking here.  You may also contact the District's bylaw enforcement officer for more information about what options, if any, are available to assist in a situation with an uncontrolled animal: Tasha Buchanan, Bylaw Enforcement (250) 672-9751 or by email: tbuchanan@barriere.ca

Uncontrolled and unreasonable dog barking can fall under the District of Barriere Noise Control Bylaw.  Dogs bark and it is unrealistic to expect that one will never hear a dog's bark in their neighbourhood. However, when a dog's barking becomes "unreasonable", this can seriously impact a resident's right to enjoy their property and can seriously affect one's mental and physical health if sleep is seriously disturbed by ongoing barking.  If you have a dog and you notice that your dog has trouble keeping his/her neighbourhood storytelling to a minimum, you may want to consider options to help your dog curb this habit whether it be by bringing the dog inside when it begins to bark, ultrasonic barking deterrents, formal training, and in extreme cases, bark collars. Speak with your veterinarian about what options may be the best fit to help your dog. 

And if you are impacted by the noise of a dog in your neighourhood (or other animal for that matter), there are steps you can take that may help such as:
- speaking calmly to your neighbour - while you may not be able to imagine it, but they may not be aware of the extent of the dog barking issue, especially if the majority of the barking takes place when they are not at home; and/or
- Purchasing an ultra sonic dog barking deterrent device that you can install outside of your home; and/or
- Create a visual blockade between your property and your neighbour's dog's line of vision if their dog's barking is initiated at the site of your pets, children or yourselves. 

You can also contact Bylaw Enforcement to intervene.  

Leash requirements: As per the District's Park Regulation Bylaw, all dogs in public parks and any trails & walkways within those parks owned by the District, must be leashed and in control of a responsible person. At present, dogs are permitted in all District owned parks as long as they are leashed and people pick up after their dog(s).  There are dog bags and garbage bins located around the parks for your convenience. While there is no bylaw dictating good dog owner manners, it should be stated that people should not permit their dog, even leashed, to approach another dog without the other owner's express consent. While you may feel your dog is friendly and sociable, the other dog may not appreciate such advances or be startled and react negatively. It is also good to keep in mind that even though you may not comprehend it, some people do not feel comfortable around dogs of any size and may not appreciate someone allowing their dog to approach them. 

If you have children in the park, be sure to remind them never to approach any dog, even leashed, without clear consent from not only yourself, but the owner of the dog. Even a friendly, non-aggressive dog, can feel threatened or startled when faced with a child running up to them and getting in their face. 

While dogs must be leashed in District Parks, there is no bylaw stating that dogs must be on a leash outside of these areas. However, for your dogs own protection and the protection of others, it is strongly advised that you always walk your dog on a leash. Do not permit your dog to do their business on other people's lawns. Always pick up after your dog as that is just good manners. 

If you see or encounter someone walking their dog on District parkland without a leash during normal business hours, please call the District Office: 250-672-9751. 

The Complaint Process (Noise, Nuisance, Parking, Unsightly Premises etc)

Once the District of Barriere receives a formal complaint via phone, email or letter, the Enforcement Officer will begin an investigation.  This process may include contacting you for additional information regarding the issue. If you do not provide your name and contact information enforcement action may be severely limited due to a lack of necessary information.  Your personal information is not released to the public, nor the property/person you are making your complaint about. 

In most cases, staff will contact the resident/property owner and notify and inquire about the issue. The resident/property owner will get a chance to provide their side of the story, deny the claim or explain their circumstance.  In most cases, the issue is resolved at this stage and if the District does not continue to receive complaints about the matter, the file is considered resolved. 

If, however, the Enforcement Officer determines there indeed is an issue that requires remediation, the resident/property owner will be either warned, ticketed or enter into a compliance agreement (where they take continued strides to reach full compliance in a timely fashion as determined reasonable by the Enforcement Officer). 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make a complaint? 
You can phone the District at (250) 672-9751 and speak to the Bylaw Enforcement Officer. 
You can email the District: inquiry@barriere.ca or tbuchanan@barriere.ca 
You can mail your complaint to: P.O. Box 219 Barriere, B.C. V0E-1E0 ATTN: Bylaw Enforcement
You can make your complaint in person at the District Office during office hours: 4936 Barriere Town Road "The Ridge" Monday-Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm. 

Do I have to give out my name? 
In order for the Bylaw Officer to be able to contact you for additional information that may be required in order to pursue the complaint, your name and contact information must be provided. 

Is my complaint anonymous? 
Yes. Your name is never released to the public or to the accused.  However, should the matter become an issue that is being disputed in a court of law, your testimony (therefore your identity) will become public. If you wish to still remain anonymous in this circumstance, the case may not be able to be defended in court by the District. 

I've made a complaint and spoke to the Bylaw Enforcement Officer but so far, the issue has not been resolved. Why? 
If the District does not hear from you again after you've made your complaint and after the Enforcement Officer has spoken to the resident/property owner regarding the issue, the District will believe that this matter has been resolved to a satisfactory level to you.  If the matter persists after a week or two of your complaint submission, please contact the District again to inform them of the status of the issue. 

I believe there to be an issue even though the District states that the issue I'm complaining about is not enforceable or not in their jurisdiction. What can I do? 
In some cases, the issue affecting a resident by a neighbour is not considered a bylaw matter. It may be criminal in nature, an issue of trespass, or a contravention of a civil agreement such as a private covenant on a subdivision. These matters must be brought forward to the appropriate agency such as the RCMP or through civil court. 

If the matter is determined to be an issue that the District has current no bylaw regulating the matter, you can request that Council consider a new bylaw or bylaw amendment that will address the concern you wish the local government to regulate. These requests can be made in writing and submitted to the District for placement onto a Council Agenda for consideration. 

I received a ticket, how can I pay the fine? 
Instructions on how to pay the fine can be found on the back of your ticket. 

I received a ticket and I want to dispute it. How can I do so? 
Instructions on how to dispute your ticket can be found on the back of your ticket. You must inform the District of your intention to dispute in the time frame indicated on the back of your ticket. If you do not do so, you are deemed convicted and the fine must be paid. 

Things to keep in mind:
- There is always more than one side to the story. The District strives to hear all applicable sides and conduct a fair investigation and to help resolve the matter swiftly and peacefully for all parties. 
- The District's Bylaw Enforcement Service is largely complaint driven. If you are upset with an issue that you feel negatively impacts you but have not directly informed the District of the issue (no, social media posts do not count), the District likely will not take action until you do so. 
- The District of Barriere does not tolerate abusive behaviour towards its employees from either complainants or the accused. Tensions can run high when you're frustrated with a matter that is negatively impacting you or if you feel that a matter is not being resolved swiftly enough or to your satisfaction, but abuse is not okay.  It is also understandable that you may feel frustrated if you are on the receiving end of enforcement action, but again, abuse is absolutely not tolerated. Any threats (verbal or otherwise), will not result in a cease of enforcement action. It will just mean that the RCMP will accompany the Bylaw Enforcement staff on ALL calls to your property for the employee's safety.  You may also be charged criminally as it is an offense to obstruct a Bylaw Officer's investigation or to assault a Bylaw Officer. 

Common Bylaws: For information purposes only. Noise Control Bylaw 
Nuisance Control Bylaw
Unsightly Premises Bylaw
Traffic Bylaw
Road Right of Way Bylaw
Parks Regulations Bylaw and amendment re motorized vehicles in District Parks
Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw - (fine structures for some of these bylaws)

CONTACT INFORMATION:
District of Barriere - 250-672-9751
Bylaw Officer: Tasha Buchanan - email: tbuchanan@barriere.ca