Commit a bylaw infraction in the District of Kent, and you’ll likely have to pay more than you did before.
On Wednesday (Nov. 13), Kent council gave first, second and third reading to amendments to the Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw (often called the BNEB), which regulates how much people have to pay when they break a bylaw.
For most infractions in nearly all bylaws, the minimum penalty has increased to $250. (Before, some minimum penalties began at $50.) Traffic and parking bylaws have increased to a $100 minimum penalty, parks and public facilities bylaws to $150, and both the soil removal and water bylaws, which have just been added to the BNEB, have a $500 minimum penalty.
Some more serious bylaw offences have been increased to $500 as well. These include demolishing a building without a permit, displaying or selling drug paraphernalia, crossing a fire line, setting off firecrackers, having a residential home infested with vermin and removing a park tree, among others.
(The $500 penalty remains the maximum allowed by the Local Government Bylaw Notice Enforcement Act.)
According to a staff report, these increases were proposed to help recover staff costs and provide a greater disincentive to offenders.
Other changes also include offering greater incentives, and disincentives, when it comes to paying fees. Instead of getting $10 off a fee when it’s paid early, early payment will now see the fee reduced by 20 per cent. Late payment will result in a 20 per cent fee increase.
“I’m proud to say since I’ve been here, and also before that, most of the bylaw enforcement has been really successful in obtaining compliance. We’re not really heavy on enforcement from the perspective of laying a lot of fines on people,” director of development services Darcey Kohuch said during the council meeting.
“But it’s important to have appropriate fines so it’s there when it’s needed to turn people around.”
A full list of changes to the BNEB can be found in the council agenda from Nov. 13.