Opinion

Proactive versus reacative bylaw enforcement

The reactive method, where action from appropriate personnel is taken only when a complaint has been made, is a reasonable expectation when you are short staffed.

However, a common issue with this method is the idea that the responsibility of concerns being addressed lies with the complainant.

Most people would rather see people who are employed to enforce laws be more proactive in their efforts of duty.

I do agree to this logic, with statements like, “After all it is their job.” I also argue that the reactive method allows residents to act as accountable contributors in their community.

However, this is not always easy if the resolved action is indifferent to the complainant’s perspective of the issue, especially when diligence has not been met with a followup.

When there are dogs roaming unleashed, and building permits granted without informing invested residents, a gap forms between expectation and conduct.

Residents then become less active in their efforts to inform the appropriate professionals of controversial activity within the community, because they get pigeonholed as, “people that can’t mind their own business.” At worst, their opinions are neglected and written off as, “drama inducers.”

If you are going to have a reactive system share the responsibility of being the eyes of a community, then a proactive approach of following up with such persons is more than a courtesy. It forms a lasting relationship that will make citizens know that they are are being thanked for their efforts.

At best, it makes the jobs of officials easier.

In a similar way one living in a household recognizes that the garbage has to be taken out.

And though the responsibility of enforcing bylaws comes down to a designated person, I think it would be best to have followup procedures, especially if one is relying on informants.

This way though the complainant may not agree with the resolution, their opinion is still being acknowledge and their efforts thanked.

Engagement from the public can only be expected if returned efforts are also being extended.

 

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