Bylaw infraction management to improve through new ticketing and dispute processes
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) Council adopted a new bylaw dispute process at last night’s Council meeting called the Bylaw Adjudication System. This adjudication system, designed by the Province of British Columbia, will help to improve management of bylaw infractions through more efficient ticketing and dispute processes.
Voluntary compliance with a bylaw will still be the first step in the bylaw enforcement process. What has changed is bylaw notice disputes are reviewed by adjudicators from Mediate BC, appointed by the Ministry of the Attorney General, rather than through the Provincial Court System used previously.
Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden is pleased with the potential of the new adjudication system. “The goal of the new model is to create a simple, fair and cost-effective system for managing minor bylaw infraction disputes. This system allows provincial and municipal time and resources to be used more efficiently and effectively, reducing the cost to tax payers and making the process more streamlined for everyone involved.”
Municipalities that have adopted the new system have reported a significant reduction in time to resolve disputes, a decrease in the number of disputes, and an improvement in the rate of fine payments. Previously, bylaw tickets disputes were evaluated by the RMOW or in provincial court, depending upon the infraction and circumstance.
Dispute hearings will be held locally, eliminating the need to attend the Provincial Court in Vancouver. RMOW screening officers will conduct a preliminary review of all bylaw disputes to provide information about the dispute process.
Enforcement of the Tourist Accommodation Bylaw will also be more effective under the new Bylaw Adjudication system, allowing Bylaw Notices to be issued for the marketing of a property not zoned for nightly accommodation. The RMOW anticipates increased compliance with the bylaw intended to prevent illegal nightly rentals and ensure that residentially-zoned properties are being used for their intended residential purpose. The Tourist Accommodation Bylaw was implemented in 2017–one of the seven recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force on Resident Housing–to meet the housing needs of Whistler residents.
“The RMOW has successfully shut down a number of illegal nightly rentals already and this new system will help ensure we can do more to enforce illegal uses,” added the Mayor. “This is a key component to our multi-faceted resident housing strategy.”
Dispute instructions are listed on the back of all municipal bylaw tickets and includes the option to apply for a dispute on paper or online, depending upon the infraction. Adjudication requests for Bylaw Notices must be submitted within 14 days of the issue date, or the opportunity to dispute the ticket will be denied. The cost to dispute a Bylaw Notice is $25 and will be added to the fine amount if the adjudicator rules that the alleged bylaw infraction did occur. The decision of the adjudicator is final and any appeals would be directed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
Traditional tickets (Municipal Ticket Information) will continue to be issued in circumstances where the RMOW determines a higher fine is necessary (up to $1,000). Municipal Ticket Information disputes are handled by the B.C. Provincial Court system.
Traditional parking tickets will continue to be issued for parking infractions until this summer, when the Bylaw Adjudication system is fully implemented.