By Trevor Busch
Implementing stringent regulations and controls for parks, boulevards, sidewalks and other town-owned properties, town council has passed Community Standards Bylaw No. 955-19.
Presented at council’s Nov. 18 meeting, the bylaw would unanimously (6-0) pass third and final reading. Coun. Linda English was absent from the meeting.
For parks, the bylaw prohibits damages to the flora and infrastructure, and makes any perpetrator liable for repairs.
It also restricts advertising of any kind, the distribution of hand bills or circulars, or the use of any “audible advertising vehicle.”
Refuse and recycling must be disposed of properly, and any matter “which may be offensive, injurious or inconvenient to persons using the park area” is also prohibited.
Vehicles of any kind are not permitted, with the exception of public service utility vehicles, police and firefighting equipment, and Town of Vauxhall vehicles.
“Any person who operates a vehicle or permits another person to operate a vehicle in a park without complying with the requirements of this section is guilty of an offence,” reads Sec. 2.4.
Powers have been extended to allow the CAO to temporarily close any park for public use, while camping or residing in a park is prohibited, as are open fires.
Exposing to view, distributing or circulating any obscene behaviour, picture, painting, drawing, marking, writing, printing or figure, or assisting in such activities, is restricted.
“Obscene under this part shall (be) in the opinion of the Peace Officer acting reasonably,” reads Sec. 2.9.
Interestingly, Sec. 2.10 allows the CAO to “make rules and regulations pertaining to the operation of any park or portion thereof as they deem necessary from time to time and may amend or delete the same” — apparently without the oversight or approval of town council — while Sec. 2.11 allows the CAO to limit the use of any park area to “one or more types of recreational activities.”
Town residents are responsible for maintaining adjacent boulevards, either grassed, graveled or adequately landscaped. Shrubs and hedges are prohibited, and cannot even extend from the owner’s property into the boulevard area, while fire hydrants must have free access (no obstructions) within a distance of 4.57 metres. Property owners are also responsible for removing or adequately trimming trees or shrubs that interfere with municipal works or public utility infrastructure.
“No person shall plant a tree on a boulevard or remove an existing tree from a boulevard without the expressed written consent of the Town,” reads Sec. 3.4 of the bylaw.
Sidewalks must be clean of snow within 24 hours of accumulation, and this means removal from the “property side of the sidewalk to the edge of the boulevard or curb whichever the case may be, completely cleared down to the pavement of said sidewalk.”
Any resulting snow and ice from these activities must not be placed on a “highway” unless they are the owner of a property adjacent to “2nd Avenue North between 4th Street North and 6th Street North” or town employees and contractors.
Materials “of any kind” placed on highways must be removed at the request of a peace officer within 24 hours, and failure to comply will draw a $75 fine, plus costs.
“All persons within the town shall remove all deleterious substance(s) and obstructions from the sidewalk situated on land adjoining the property owned, or occupied by them including dirt, leaves and natural material that accumulate in such areas from time to time,” reads Sec. 4.6.
The town also reserves the right under specific circumstances to clear the sidewalk adjacent to a property without prior warning, with the costs to be billed to the homeowner.
Electrical extension cords cannot be conveyed over the surface of a sidewalk unless it meets three conditions including an outdoor grade for the cord and an acceptable support structure.
“Any person who fails to maintain a sidewalk adjacent to the land they own or occupy to the degree prescribed by this section shall be guilty of an offence,” reads Sec. 4.9.
Town “highways” cannot be damaged, and tracked machines are prohibited unless operated by town employees in the course of regular duties, or by a contractor for the town.
The CAO and peace officers also have the power to close or temporarily close highways.
Under the area of Behaviours, the bylaw includes only one provision which attracts a $100 fine if found in violation.
“No person shall conduct themselves in such a manner that may be considered obscene,” reads Sec. 6.1.
Section 7-8 of the bylaw deals with Enforcement, Order of Compliance, and Penalties, and sets out rules and boundaries for enforcement including the peace officer’s ability to enter properties for investigation or inspection, with reasonable notice, as well as issue violation tickets.
Obstructing any peace office in their duties draws the highest financial penalty in the bylaw, a ticket of $500.
Various penalties under Schedule “A” of the bylaw include causing damage in a park ($100 plus costs), advertising in a park ($100), littering ($100), operating/parking a motor vehicle within a park ($100), entering a park while closed ($100), camping in an undesignated area ($100), open fire within a park ($100), graffiti ($150), planting or removing a tree on a boulevard without authorization ($100), piling snow on a highway ($75 plus costs), failure to make extension cord visible ($50), failing to maintain sidewalk ($50), causing damage to a highway ($150 plus costs), operating a tracked machine within the town ($100), damaging or removing a traffic control device ($100 plus costs), entering a highway that has been closed by the CAO ($100), obscene behaviour ($100), obstruction of a peace officer ($500).