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Council votes to significantly reduce snow clearing fines

Airdrie City Council Briefs:

By: Matt Durnan

  |  Posted: Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 01:28 pm

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The penalty for Airdrie residents who fail to clear snow from their sidewalks was cut significantly as council voted unanimously in favour of fine reductions on March 17.

While Mother Nature has taken care of much of the snow around Airdrie, another snowfall is not out of the question, and bylaw enforcement may be more apt to hand out tickets to those residents who do not clear their sidewalks of snow and ice within 24 hours of a snowfall now that fines have been reduced.

The old fine structure called for a $500 fine for failure to remove snow or ice from sidewalks; that number will now be reduced to $50, second offense will be $100 and third will be $150.

Airdrie Director of Community Safety and Corporate Properties Mark Locking proposed a fine schedule of $150 for first offense, doubling to $300 for second offense and doubling once more to $600 for third offense.

This past winter, the City’s bylaw enforcement officers issued just three tickets for failure to remove snow (one in December, two in January).

“I would be more in favour of a fine schedule of $50, $100 and $150,” said Alderman Candice Kolson, who said she wasn’t on board with the steep increase proposed by Locking.

“With a lower fine for first offense would our bylaw officers be more apt to write tickets?”

Locking replied that he believed more tickets would be issued with a reduction from $500 for a first offense while adding, “we want to send a strong message about snow clearing.”

City Manager Paul Schultz spoke about the old fine of $500, while mentioning that this winter was a deviation from the norm.

“This was a very unusual winter with the amount of snow that we had early on,” said Schultz.

“The initial fine was very high and I think that’s why we saw so few tickets.”

“These are the types of tickets that people will usually fight in court,” said Airdrie Manager of Legislative Services Sharon Pollyck. “It costs the City $450 for one hour in court.”

Bylaw officers will continue to use discretion when issuing tickets for snow clearing, according to Locking, and in many instances residents will be given a warning before tickets are issued.

Land use bylaw

City council held a public hearing for a potential amendment to a land use bylaw that would transition a plot of land in the Highland Park industrial area from highway front business to direct control zone.

This transition would have allowed for the storage of recreation vehicles (RVs) on the land, but council followed the recommendation of Planning Team Leader Jamie Dugdale to reject the proposed amendment.

“Currently, RVs are not allowed on this land and allowing for this may compromise future planning in that area,” said Dugdale.

Chris Davis, a lawyer with Davis Jensen Law and Peter Schrivers of CityTrend, the developer requesting the amendment, spoke in favour of the amendment, stating it would not be a detriment to future development.

“We do not concur with council’s decision to reject this amendment,” said Davis.

“This will be an interim use and I hope that council would look at this and approve the re-zoning.”

Schrivers echoed Davis’ comments, stating that there has never been a clear structure plan for the area.

“RV storage by its very nature is transitional, council would not be tying its hands by allowing this amendment, this can be moved quickly if needed and wouldn’t jeopardize future planning,” he said.

Council voted unanimously in opposition of the amendment.

Alcohol policy

Community groups and third parties will now be included in Bert Church Theatre’s alcohol management policy.

Council voted unanimously in favour of amending the policy to be inclusive to third parties and private functions.

When council first passed the alcohol management policy to allow for the service of alcohol at the theatre, it was slated to include service only during the current theatre season.

The amendment makes the policy more overarching and aligns with policies at other City facilities such as the Town and Country Centre.

The City will provide bar staff for private functions at Bert Church Theatre in order to control any risk involved, according to Pollyck.

“The revenue opportunities that this presents far outweighs the risk,” she said.

“When it’s our staff working the events, we’re in control of any risk there may be.”

Firehall open house

The City of Airdrie will host a public open house on March 27 regarding the possible relocation of the Main Street Fire Hall.

The meeting will take place in City Hall council chambers and starts at 7 p.m.


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