Good neighbour bylaw sought by council

By on March 8, 2018
City council has directed staff to look into the possibility of creating a "good neighbour" bylaw. (Herald files).


City council asked its staff to look into a cost-recovery program for repeated first responder calls, a program which would resemble a “good neighbour” bylaw recently passed by the City of Kamloops.

That bylaw deems a property a nuisance if RCMP or other emergency services are called to it more than twice in 24 hours or three times in a year, with the goal of tackling rental properties causing repeated disturbances and making neighbours feel unsafe.

Once that threshold is passed, the city has the power to charge the property owner for officers, vehicles and other personnel dispatched to the scene. The recommendation came at the request of Coun. Dave Baker at council’s regular meeting on Feb. 27.

He told his fellow councillors he brought this recommendation forward in hopes it would lessen the amount of times emergency crews are called to the same residences for the same calls.

“Whether it’s a drug overdose or a harassment or —it doesn’t matter — anything. It’s just basically more calls than what would be normal and that’s what we have to decide, is what we consider to be normal,” Baker told his fellow councillors.

Implementing this type of bylaw was something the police committee has discussed recently.

Committee member Coun. Dianna Norgaard said that when this idea was discussed by the committee one of the concerns with it was the possibility of deterring elderly people or victims of domestic abuse from calling 9-1-1.

“We don’t want people to stop calling because they’re afraid we’re going to charge them back, so the bylaw needs to have some discretionary power around how we do that,” Norgaard said at the meeting.

Council voted unanimously to direct staff to look into implementing this type of program.

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