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City creeping closer to beefing up bylaw enforcement department

Department enforces bylaws ranging from parking, animal control and property standards to yard maintenance and parks regulations
USED 2019-11-26 Good Morn RB 11
Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

City council has given approval to consider hiring a new full-time municipal law enforcement officer, and funding for the associated vehicle, workstation and uniform, as part of the 2021 budget debated in January.

Two additional officers will be considered in 2022, and the demands from growth, call increases and regulatory changes will be reviewed to both maintain and enhance service levels.

There has not been an increase in permanent municipal law enforcement staff since 2003; since then, Barrie’s population has grown by 29 per cent and calls for service have jumped by 54 per cent.

The enforcement office has three management employees, 10 full-time officers, 13 part-time officers, six people in its office and 12 seasonal officers. They enforce bylaws ranging from parking, animal control and property standards to yard maintenance and parks regulations.

What’s being proposed is a phased approach to pro-active enforcement — looking for infractions, instead of just reacting to complaints.

The proposal is to add one full-time officer next year, for $98,000, and two more in 2022 at $220,000, to maintain service levels. Or immediately increasing service levels by hiring four more officers next year, for $566,264. These costs include vehicles, workstations and uniforms.

Both plans would lead to 25 per cent proactive enforcement, once all officers are in place mid-2022.

They also provide the ability to meet current service levels with growth that has already occurred, have faster response times once all officers are in place mid-2022 and allow for new officers to possibly assist with yard maintenance matters. It would also create a full rotational schedule to ensure coverage seven days a week for most enforcement matters.

The motion also asked that bylaw services staff explore ways to have contact information for residential properties, including but not limited to phone numbers, e-mails and alternative addresses, in order to allow bylaw services to reach property owners that have properties with bylaw infractions in a quick and timely manner, and report back by the April 12, 2021 general committee meeting.

A letter will also be sent to Georgian College’s board of directors about cost-sharing an additional bylaw enforcement officer to enforce standards in the Georgian College neighbourhood perimeter beginning August 2021, and report back by memo once a response is received.

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Bob Bruton

About the Author: Bob Bruton

Bob Bruton is a full-time BarrieToday reporter who covers politics and city hall.
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