Cold Lake City Council voted to include a fine schedule for its Land Use Bylaw in an effort to help make any required enforcement under the bylaw more practical.
Cold Lake’s Mayor Craig Copeland says they always like to work with developers and residents to make sure any issues with bylaw violations are well understood before they get to the point where enforcement is necessary.
“Of course, there are unfortunate instances where we need to issue tickets for us to see compliance, and we need to be prepared to take those steps when necessary.”
Before this Cold Lake did not have a dedicated fine schedule referring instead to the Municipal Government Act’s provision which allows municipalities to issue fines up to $10,000.
Now, the fines that can be levied under the City of Cold Lake’s Land Use Bylaw fall into three broad categories:
1) Non-Permit and Sign Offences: This category includes minor offences and carry a fine of $150 for a first offence, $300 for a second offence and $600 for a third offence. Examples include parking too many trailers or RVs on private property, parking RVs or trailers on landscaped lawns, failing to maintain a vacant lot or parking lot to standards, or placing temporary signs against the provisions of the land use bylaw.
2) Development Permit Offences: This category covers developments that are occurring without a valid permit or are in contravention of the conditions of a permit. Stop-work orders can be used in these cases, but the fines give another enforcement option to ensure compliance. Fines in this category are $250 for a first offence, $500 for a second offence and $1,000 for a third offence.
3) Disregard for Notice, Order or Permit Suspension: This third category covers situations where previous enforcement has not been enough to bring development into compliance with permits or orders. This category carries a fine of $500 for a first offence $1,000 for a second offence and $2,000 for a third offence. Examples include development that continues after a stop work order is issued, failure to comply with a written notice from the development officer, or continuation of a development after the suspension or revocation of a permit.
Administration noted that the fee schedule is in-line with those seen in other municipalities.
“We are hoping that education and communication with staff can bring about compliance in the vast majority of cases,” Copeland said. “But at the same time our staff need the tools to ensure that the Land Use Bylaw is enforced fairly and consistently across our city.”