“I am writing to you”, began an email – clearly Bcced to a number of islanders from one of the Flying Shingle’s inter-island contacts – “because at some point, you expressed concern that Local Trust Committees do not enforce their bylaws”.
Proving once more that the Land of Synchronicity is located inside The Shingle inbox, the email pointed up two discussions underway about bylaw enforcement – one on Gabriola, and a larger discussion that has been ongoing throughout the Trust Area.
As reported this edition, Gabriolan trustees are still waiting for a report from Bylaw Coordinator Miles Drew about what is happening regarding bylaw enforcement here on Gabriola. Queried in February about how bylaw infringement investigations are being conducted, Drew blamed both lack of resources and Trust policy on the state of those investigations (see: No time to follow policy: bylaw coordinator in The Shingle online archives – www.FlyingShingle.com).
Meanwhile the agenda for June’s Trust Council meeting showed the issue of bylaw enforcement is not solely a Gabriola concern. In a report to council on the status of Trust-wide bylaw investigations, staff noted: “The Executive Committee has directed the Bylaw Enforcement Manager to develop proposals for bylaw enforcement strategies and policies concerning unlawful dwellings and unlawful structures on the foreshore. Unfortunately, no progress has been made on these projects due to staff resources being used to complete the Bylaw Enforcement Notification system and Short Term Vacation Rental policy work. Work will begin on enforcement strategies for unlawful dwellings as soon as staff resources become available”.
Our contact noted that as Trust Council is currently looking for input on their Strategic Plan, this is a good time for those who have concerns about bylaw enforcement to make their thoughts clear. “Enforcement could be improved”, the email points out, “if the Trust Council made this a priority, allocated more funding to enforcement, and directed their staff to adopt a culture that expects compliance”.
Those who seriously want to see an improvement in this area may take another action as well. Next year, at budget time, make a point of writing to the Trust in support of a tax hike. There are a number of problems we believe need to be resolved to improve Trust bylaw enforcement. One of them is finances.
There is more information about the strategic plan on page 10 of this edition. Deadline for submissions is the end of July.
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