As the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako continues to develop its plan for regional recreation, it’s also turning its attention on how to regulate the use of and activity in parks and on trails.
In a memo being circulated to municipal councils within the district, one kind of ticketing system RDBN is considering for violations of bylaw provisions would also benefit municipalities.
That system is called the bylaw dispute adjudication (BDA) system, which the regional district says is less expensive and more efficient to use than the more formal municipal ticket information (MTI) system, which involves provincial court appearances if a ticket is disputed.
Municipalities in the northwest, such as Smithers, currently use the MTI system. Court appearances could amount to several thousand dollars and there is no recourse for recovery of legal costs in provincial court, the memo from regional district bylaw officer Darrell Hill reads.
“The high cost of dealing with disputed tickets is a deterrent to using MTIs,” he indicated.
A BDA system, on the other hand, “reduces the demand on the court system, is less expensive to administer than the court process, and is a better balance between the amount of the penalty imposed (at a maximum set by regulation, currently $500) and the cost of pursuing the bylaw contravention in court,” the memo continued.
The BDA system is so named because it involves a local government and the person ticketed using an adjudicator which, Hill wrote is “simple, fair and cost-effective for dealing with minor bylaw infractions that involve a streamlined process outside of the provincial courts system.”
“The function of the adjudicator is strictly to confirm or cancel the bylaw notice.”
And in considering a matter, the adjudicator can review documents submitted by either party or hear from the parties or witnesses over the telephone.
Aside from efficiency, the memo also said there would be cost savings by having local governments share an adjudication format.
Combined adjudication hearings result in overall reduced administrative costs and allow more frequent hearing dates.
And a local government can have a staffer acting as a screening officer who can cancel a ticket at their discretion in case, for example, there is a compliance agreement.