On March 29, Metchosin council held a public engagement workshop, to discuss best practices of bylaw enforcement and investigation policies. (Black Press Media file)

On March 29, Metchosin council held a public engagement workshop, to discuss best practices of bylaw enforcement and investigation policies. (Black Press Media file)

Metchosin reviews bylaw enforcement policies

Residents give input at March 29 meeting; more public engagement sessions to come

Metchosin is reevaluating its bylaw enforcement policies to find out what’s working, and what may need an update.

On March 29, council held a virtual public engagement workshop to discuss best practices of bylaw enforcement and investigation policies.

“We embarked in this process back in 2019 prior to COVID-19, and the process got stalled due to the pandemic,” said Coun. Kyara Kahakuawila.

Kahakuawila said council is looking at whether the current bylaws are focused where they would like them to be, and what needs to be looked at in the future.

“We want to look at how to move forward in the best way possible for residents,” said Kahakuawila. “Bylaws are intended to create the type of Metchosin that we all want to see.”

Future discussions could look at whether or not to move from a complaint-based strategy, to a more active bylaw strategy.

“A complaint-based process is the choice by most municipalities, but is it one that catches every single infraction? Absolutely not. The city deals with things as they become known,” said Kahakuawila. “So we are looking at having more active bylaw enforcement monitoring from staff while out on the road.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19 cluster confirmed at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt

As a takeaway from the workshop, Kahakuawila noted that communication is a major piece, and residents would like more information after a complaint is filed, but council is limited on the information it can give out.

“I think we can find a better way of doing that, but I’m not sure what it would look like yet, so that’s one reason why we’ve tasked the chief administrative officer to find the best practices,” Kahakuawila said.

Metchosin resident Jay Shukin said he was disappointed by the delay and lack of progress around the issue since it was first introduced by council in 2019.

“What the public is looking for is a renewal around the commitment to enforce bylaws within the community,” said Shukin.

Shukin would like to see more sessions where they discuss further issues, such as the use of fines, bylaw administration, and doing a cost benefit analysis of looking at hiring a bylaw officer in Metchosin. Currently, Metchosin contracts them out of the CRD.

Council wants to ensure bylaw enforcement practices are transparent, reasonable and fair, so reviewing how enforcement is delivered in the community will be an ongoing discussion with residents.

“One thing council needs to do through the planning committee is decide what the next steps are,” said Kahakuawila, noting there will be more opportunities for public engagement and workshop sessions to come.

City staff is compiling information gathered from the meeting to draw up a more refined strategy, and another workshop-style meeting is expected to be held at the end of April.

For more information or to view the full workshop, visit metchosin.ca.

READ ALSO: West Shore and Sooke farmers’ markets gear up for opening day

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