Houston residents will soon be hearing a lot more about the District’s plan to clamp down on all types of nuisances now that a by-law has been adopted by council.
Council gave the by-law the required three readings in February and official adoption came March 2, enabling the District to concentrate on nuisances, anti-social behaviour, excessive noise, unsightly premises and other actions and activities considered at odds to citizens.
The adoption puts the bylaw into effect immediately.
Next up is what communications officer Holly Brown described to council as a “comprehensive campaign educating the public on these new regulations and updating current resources.”
Such a campaign would include social media postings, drawing up a summary sheet covering the new regulations, educating the District’s own staff and speaking with the RCMP about the bylaw’s provisions.
The by-law will complement the District’s decision last year to split the cost of a by-law officer with the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.
Identified nuisances listed include the prohibiting unsightly premises, allowing discarded materials to accumulate on properties, allowing vegetation to overgrow and allowing derelict vehicles to accumulate.
Noise is defined as any sound “which is is liable to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort, or convenience of individuals or the public …..”
A list of prohibited public nuisances on public property includes smoking cannabis or tobacco, placing graffiti, fighting, urinating, defecating and littering.
The intended bylaw’s nuisance abatement fees are to cover staff time, vehicle usage and the actual cost of dealing with a nuisance. The staff time is set at a $50 flat rate plus the actual cost of the dealing with the nuisance and vehicle usage, with a 10 per cent surcharge added to the latter two costs.
Repeat nuisance call fees are set at $30.
Noise exemptions, such as noise from construction, can be requested at a processing fee of $30.
As for ticket costs for a nuisance itself, all but several will draw a fine of $150. That includes smoking, littering, having discarded materials at a premises, having a derelict fence and being noisy for longer than 30 minutes.
But obstructing an authorized official as designated through the bylaw will cost $1,000.