The City of Lacombe recently gave first reading to a new Community Standards Bylaw, which — if passed — will provide clarity for residents on what it means to be a good citizen and neighbor.
“One of the things that council identified as a high priority was a review of the nuisance bylaw,” Diane Piché, director of Corporate Services, said. “They gave direction for us to review some of the clauses and sections of the bylaw in order to make things a little easier for residents.”
The review came as a result of the new Responsible Animal Ownership Bylaw being passed, which removed cats — the number one complaint — from the current nuisance bylaw.
Outside of cats, the number one community standards complaints were: Unsightly premises, which had 78 complaints between 2015 to 2018; 22 litter complaints; 13 noise complaints; one excessive garage sale; and several other various complaints equal to 16 total.
Piche said the new bylaw will provide important definitions for these terms
“In our old nuisance bylaw, we didn’t have a definition of what unsightly meant. That is one of the main things we have added and now it clarifies more what an unkempt property is,” she said, adding they also included a greater definition of what a noise complaint is.
“It comes down to what it is for a reasonable person to have to listen too,” she said. “There is some subjective nature to it, but there is a set time for the noise bylaw.
“Night time hours are set from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m. Monday to Fridays and then 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. on weekends and statutory holidays.”
New to the bylaw is an excessive vehicle idling component, which is not prohibited but will be monitored
“As long as they are not doing it for an extended period of time. It doesn’t say we aren’t allowing idling — we just have to start watching how long the idling is happening,” she said.
“It is for general residents who need to know that light shining it people’s property requires some sort of shading or covering,” she said.
If the new bylaw passes second and third reading — which will come after a public consultation period currently underway — bylaw officers will be given discretion with enforcement.
“We also like to give a warning first and then any repetitiveness, there would be a fine. It will depend on each incident,” Piche said.
She added, “We are looking for comments from the community and it will be posted on various channels.”
The first reading of the bylaw can be accessed at lacombe.ca.