More bylaw enforcement officers needed in Lincoln, councillors hear
Parking problems coupled with the implementation of a new program aimed at increasing school safety measures have left Lincoln's small municipal law enforcement office struggling to keep up with demand.
During an annual report, delivered at the March 20 committee of the whole meeting, councillors had the opportunity to hear about the concerns from the town's manager of municipal law enforcement (MLE).
Currently, Lincoln has four MLE officers; three who work full time and one part-time staff member.
“(There is) a need for better training and continued training for the officers. With it being such a small unit, there are difficulties at times,” said Mike Barkway, manager of municipal law enforcement.
Mayor Sandra Easton said the community is growing, noting bylaw enforcement is an important component to ensuring civil behaviour.
“Receiving a report once a year is great as an overview, but there are some points in this report that are not new,” said Easton. “And I’m concerned that we are not in a position to give Mr. Barkway and his team the tools that they require in order to get better results in some cases.”
Lincoln's chief administrative officer Michael Kirkopoulos said the town's bylaws are currently in the process of being reviewed, which he suggested should be done on a more regular basis.
“We got some bylaws today that date back 20 years, which is not an anomaly in a lot of municipalities, so we need to look at those and bring them to the council to determine moving forward if there are any implications to having bylaws that are that outdated,” said Kirkopoulos.
For this year, MLE will continue implementing new provisions to be approved by council, which includes the anticipated public information sessions in respect to short-term accommodations licensing bylaw, which would require staffing for enforcement.
MLE staff will also be adjusting operational hours from the period of the May long weekend to Labour Day weekend to “patrol all municipal parks and public spaces effectively, respond to any expressed concerns during the late evening hours and for availability to monitor special events held throughout the municipality to ensure compliance with noise-related concerns.”
Meetings with businesses operating events that require noise exemption permits are also in the works.
Staff will also be analyzing the permits process with the goal to streamline it for organizations and businesses that routinely host events.
The report showed 303 parking tickets were issued. Among those, 84 were related to prohibited parking by sign, 61 for parking longer than 24 hours, and 43 vehicles interfered with snow clearing.
According to the MLE, Beamsville makes up the majority of parking-related offences due to the amount of dense residential housing.
The introduction and implementation of the Active School Travel Outreach program — adapted for the schools within the Town of Lincoln with voluntary for each school — are coming soon. It aims to increase crossing guards and school safety measures.
This program takes place in school and educates students with safety information about travelling to and from school and identifies safety rules and tips in relation to school crossings and crossing guards.
Beatriz Baleeiro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News