On May 12th, Town Council held their regular town council meeting where it was revealed a builder in town built outside of the variances (or setbacks) given in the builder permit provided, which resulted in a $10 000 fine.
Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski, says “Town Bylaws are clear.” Sobolewski says when a builder is preparing for a job, “there’s certain envelops that you have to build within.” These envelops are explained to the builder, “those things are quite well explained to you, you know what your setbacks are and you know that you have to stay out of those setbacks.” Sobolewski says Bonnyville “designed the bylaws after the MGA (Municipal Government Act) which stipulates a builder must stay within the variances provided.”
There are situations where a property owner wants to add onto their house, like a deck, says Sobolewski, “stuff happens when people need to encroach on the setbacks, say in the case of signs.” “What we end up doing is varying the bylaw,” In these cases the person wanting to build outside of the setbacks would have to follow some steps, says Sobolewski, “that’s after these folks (the builder) come in and talks to the town.”
Sobolewski explains why this case resulted in a large fine, “other information that was provided to council that this individual had known about the setbacks and purposely built.” Builders and/or property owners are given development and/or builder permits prior to doing any construction by The Town. Sobolewski further explains the builder came to council after the job was completed, “it was a beg for forgiveness afterwards.”
Sobolewski says council decided to fine the builder, “in this particular case, council said ‘no that’s not right’.” He further explains, “bylaws are there for a reason.” The fine came from the guidelines given in The Municipal Government Act, which Sobolewski breaks it down, “this is legislation that’s provided by The Province, that a person can be fined up to $10 000.” Which is what resulted in this case, town council made a motion , which was carried and passed that this person would be fined the maximum, “basically, it was for the disregard,” Sobolewski re-enforces council’s decision.
The Town chose not to release the company or the builder’s name. In the permits the setbacks are explained and the town urges anyone doing construction should be aware of the setbacks. “Our staff are there and the rules are in place for a reason,” Sobolewski explains, “just because you don’t agree with them, or whatever, you can’t just ignore or disregard them.”