Public urination and wayward parking were among the top concerns raised by a pair of Smithville residents who went to town hall, asking the township to increase its bylaw enforcement efforts.
Malcolm and Vira High live on Dennis Drive and brought their concerns forward at the May 8 planning/building/environmental committee meeting, asking for better enforcement of the township’s bylaws.
They allege people started parking within 1.5 meters of their driveway and by the “no parking” sign on a regular basis shortly after they moved to the neighbourhood in 2020.
According to Malcolm, in November 2022, the township sent out an information packet to all residents in the subdivision that explained the parking rules and outlined where vehicles could and could not park.
“We followed up on parking concerns for the bylaw officer, and after submitting several concerns, he left us a phone message and told us to stop reporting the concerns,” Malcolm told the committee. “The officer admitted his main working hours are 9 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.).”
Malcolm said this enforcement period is ineffective since most people work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and many of the offences take place after 5 p.m., before 9 a.m. and on the weekends.
“We called Niagara Region for the after-hours bylaw, and they told us that in West Lincoln, there is no bylaw enforcement after 5 p.m. or on the weekends,” Malcolm said.
Vira said during winter, they can’t remove the snow because the vehicle is parked too close to her driveway.
A solution, said Malcolm, would be fines and an irregular bylaw enforcement schedule, which could stop people from predicting enforcement.
“Educating citizens has already been done. They choose to violate the law. And you might say this is an isolated case, that most people would have common respect,” Malcolm said. “We have some other cases, like a man urinating right beside my backyard. This was in a public park right near the playground area.”
Coun. William Reilly said he’s always been concerned about the size of the bylaw department and added the officers wear many hats, not just parking infractions.
“They’re definitely overworked, in my opinion. So, I’m certainly not in opposition to this. And if I see anything that we can do to expand that department to help deal with other issues might actually be for the betterment of the community,” Reilly said.
According to Reilly, adding extra porta-potties throughout some of the more populated areas could help, but he doesn’t believe a bylaw “would actually be able to do anything in that respect unless they really catch them in the act.”
The committee referred the residents’ concerns and information to staff.
By Beatriz Baleeiro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on May 12, 2023 at 13:40