General News · 31st May 2018
Oh yes, this issue does indeed ignite your passion and fervour.
No taxes. No specific nuisance cop. Nothing about smoke or emissions. No sneaking - this is part of the current zoning bylaw review. And yes I want you to vote. Please people. This is part of the work you have given me and I want the decision to be yours.
I wanted to have clear information and a specific proposal before writing... but it is clear that some factual information is very much needed now rather than later.
History - The EXISTING 2002 Cortes Zoning Bylaw includes a very broad nuisance provision – which I assume was a reflection of the will of Cortes residents before my time in office. It reads:
“Nothing shall be permitted in any zone which is or can become a nuisance to any person who believes their interest in property is affected, including the surrounding residents and general public, by reason of unsightliness, odour emission, dust, noise, vibration, smoke, or electrical interference, excluding agricultural uses provided the farm practice is conducted in accordance with normal farm practices as described in the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act.”
It has since been determined that these types of nuisance provisions need to be in a stand-alone regulatory bylaw rather than embedded in the zoning bylaw. As we are now reviewing the Cortes zoning bylaw, which already includes nuisance language, we must separate this part out IF we want to continue to regulate nuisance. If we don’t want to, that’s fine by me.
Last Year - The SRD asked Cortes residents in the zoning bylaw update survey “Would you like to see a nuisance bylaw adopted for Cortes Island?” 123 people answered this question. 55% said ‘yes’, 37% said ‘no’ and 7% said ‘don’t know/no opinion’. Given that your will is unclear, I believe the matter needs further exploration and that you should get the right to decide what happens.
Present – There is a two-step process before Cortes could have any enforceable nuisance regulation. First, we would need to establish a nuisance ‘service’ (giving the SRD the right to regulate in principle) and then second we would need to pass an enforceable regulatory bylaw. It’s like first opening a bank account and second putting money in it; first you need the account before you can conduct any banking. You can then use the account or not. Maybe not the best analogy...
The staff report that has been written about on Tideline in detail, but out of context, outlines all the possible nuisance provisions that the Province allows local government to regulate. (No, we are not looking to regulate caterpillars, weeds and graffiti – come on!) Of all the very broad nuisance provisions currently in the Cortes zoning bylaw (see above), the only one that I actually hear people concerned about is ‘unsightly premise’ as seen from a public viewpoint. Staff were initially asked to also investigate regulating ‘effluvia’ (smoke, dust, odour, etc) and upon further discussion I will be directing that we not pursue this and stick ONLY to ‘unsightly premise’ as viewed from a public space (most likely road). In my 10 years in office, I am only aware of two very highly visible properties that people have complained about – I am sure known to most of you.
Future - So, back to the two step process... My intent is to introduce the service establishment bylaw (opening the bank account) that speaks only to ‘unsightly premise’ in the next few months. I then want to have the specific regulatory bylaw brought to you as a referendum question with the fall election. You would then get to VOTE ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if you wanted this regulatory tool.
I expect that next week there will be some draft language that I can share with you. Please take a breath.
Comment by Tom Bohart on 2nd June 2018
The normal solution to "unsightly premises" (who will judge?) on Cortes has been a good fence.
Thank you for this clear summary!
Comment by Sean Lymworth on 1st June 2018
thanks for this explanation
Comment by Maureen Williams on 1st June 2018
That's a great explanation and alleviates a lot of confusion. It's reassuring to know that we will have a chance to read the bylaw and vote on it. It all sounds very reasonable and I appreciate your work on this, Noba.
Read the text
Comment by Jack Wills on 31st May 2018
Direct quote from section 325 of these proposed bylaws:
(e) require the owners or occupiers of real property, or their agents, to clear property of brush, trees, noxious weeds or other growths.
(f) require the owners or occupiers of real property, or their agents, to prevent infestation by caterpillars and other noxious or destructive insects and to clear the property of such insects.
So it is written. Did you ever trust a politician when they tell you that even though it is a part of a proposed law, "we would never do that"?
If a law is not intended to be enforced, what is it's purpose. Direct the proposed bylaw to the intended result only, rather than this one-size fits-all approach......which also proposes confiscation and sale for non-compliance "Subject to this section, if a remedial action requirement has not been satisfied by the date specified for compliance, the municipality may sell the matter or thing in relation to which the requirement was imposed or any part or material of it."