Council looks for more answers on bylaw enforcement

A straight-forward report on bylaw enforcement raised questions that council decided it wanted to discuss with company representatives.

The format of the report is based on statistics regarding the enforcement provided by James Special Services, Owen Sound.

Coun. Joel Loughead said he repeatedly has heard about complaints going unresolved. He would like to find out about how enforcement is working, for example any information about how often or whether fines are being imposed.

Coun. Nadia Dubyk said that in the quarterly report on the May 29 edition and also in previous reports there is a trend to the number of incidents in the “Other” category being very high.

Council heard that staff did not have any further information: what was received by the municipality appeared on the agenda. However, staff said they could go back to the company and get those answers.

Coun. Dubyk said that she also was hearing questions and concerns from the public. She suggested that it may be time for council to have a dialogue directly with company representatives.

CAO Karen Govan reported that she had met with the company a couple months ago, and let them know that every time a report comes forward there are questions.

The CAO did say that the biggest complaint received is canine control. She mentioned that the Humane Society will be coming to delegate to council and suggested trying to get the service provider to council around the same time.

Coun. Loughead first suggested that it would be good to have someone from the company come to speak near the beginning of each new term of council. He then made a follow-up suggestion that it should be a standing in-person yearly delegation.

“That makes sense, that we would have ‘face time’ with the people who are enforcing the bylaws we create,” he said.

The CAO noted that one issue may be that some calls received from the public turn out to be about things that are not enforceable by bylaw. That might be affecting the report, she said.

In May, 2022, Grey Highlands chose James Special Services Inc. to provide canine control and bylaw enforcement.

The company, based in Owen Sound, provides security as well as municipal bylaw services in Grey-Bruce. Only one reply was received to the tender.

REPORTS

The monthly reports for January through March were received, which noted that the majority of the calls are related to dogs, most often either for dogs running at large or barking dogs.

January’s report noted that there were outstanding property standards files because of lack of compliance and not having a contracted clean-up company. At that time there were eight ongoing Dog Menace files.

Sixty-five of the 177 hours were for canine control, 25 for zoning, 15 for waste collection, 26 for other.

The February report showed that canine control took 75 of the 166 hours, 20 “Other” and 14 property standards.

In March, canine control took 50 hours, property standards 35 hours and zoning 25 hours.

Each month’s report breaks down calls by area, and gives the case status – for example in March, 42 open cases, 13 new cases and 17 closed cases.

The company recommended a “Clean and Clear or Tidy Yards” bylaw.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Flesherton Advance