By Jamie Mountain
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
TEMAGAMI – Harsher penalties may soon be enforced when it comes to Temagami’s building bylaw.
Municipal bylaw enforcement officer Daryl Bell informed council at the October 29 regular meeting that staff had been addressing issues with building projects in the municipality.
He cited “building without a permit” and “continuing to work without the proper inspections being done at the proper times,” as prescribed by the Ontario Building Code Act (BCA), as some of the biggest violations staff are seeing within the town.
Bell wrote in his report to council that “the BCA has provisions to charge double fees when work is commenced without a building permit.” He says it “allows for an inspector, who finds jobs that have proceeded without the prescribed inspections, the ability to issue work orders to uncover or proceed to court action.”
Bell explained that staff have reviewed other municipalities and found that the BCA provisions have been adopted to assist and better manage their enforcement practices.
“The issuance of Part One of Provincial Offence Notices serves to gain compliance without the additional time required to move forward with costly court time, thus making them more effective in the short term,” he wrote.
Bell said that the City of Sudbury has moved into short-form wordings and set fines, which they then applied to the BCA for administrative purposes.
“Other municipalities have applied changes to the building bylaws. The maximum fine for a Part One Provincial Offence is $500. The ability to issue a Part One ticket on the spot will serve to gain compliance with the building bylaw 08-872, as amended,” he wrote in his report.
Bell said that staff are recommending that Temagami send an application to the Chief Justice for approval of set fines and short-form wordings for its building bylaw. They also feel the current bylaw should be “amended to include a penalty clause, which is inclusive of set fines and short-form wordings, as approved by the Chief Justice.
“What this is intended for is for those that have just gone ahead with doing the (building) work without ever calling for an inspection,” Bell explained.
“We’ve been out on a number of properties now where we’ve walked in to do an inspection and found out that they’re already three steps ahead of where we are and never once have they made the call to say ‘come out for an inspection.’”
Bell said if the municipality had a set fine for each of those infractions, “we would have had three charges that we would have been levelling against them for failing to call for the proper inspection at the proper time.
“Under the building code, there’s 48 hours to bring forward an inspection after we’ve been requested but if we’ve never been requested...then that’s the issue we’re trying to deal with here.”
Council approved the proposed changes to the building bylaw and will have municipal staff draft the appropriate bylaw for consideration at council’s next regular meeting on November 19.
Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker