General Guide to Bylaw Enforcement Within the Town of Osoyoos
Bylaw Enforcement Officers are given the task to investigate complaints received from the public about alleged violations of various municipal bylaws. These regulations may include such things as:
- Snow/Ice removal
- Business Licensing
- Animal Control
- Excessive Noise
- Water Restrictions
- Unsightly Property
The goal of Bylaw Enforcement is not to penalize the residents of Osoyoos or visitors to our Town but, rather, to achieve compliance through education and the provision of information in order to preserve the quality of life to which each resident is entitled.
While there are certain areas of enforcement that are safety related and require proactive enforcement, the majority of these bylaws are enforced on a complaint only basis. This ensures that our bylaw enforcement contractors are serving the needs of the community and that the complaints received are of high importance.
Enforcement procedures may take many courses. These enforcement proceedings are normally increasingly costly to the person in non-compliance, and may include direct enforcement (staff or contractors remove or resolve the non-compliance at the property owner's cost), municipal ticketing, the seeking of a court injunction, or the laying of charges under the bylaw provisions. Each complaint is different and the enforcement proceedings are decided upon based on the individual case. In addition, should complaint issues arise on an ongoing basis charges may be placed against the property owner and eventually collected as taxes. These regulations ensure that property owners remain responsible for what occurs on their property.
Enforcement proceedings, vary in most cases, however are generally completed within a month of the initial complaint. Depending on the volume of complaints, co-operation of the property owner or person in violation, specific circumstances of the case, and enforcement proceedings required, completion of the complaint may take longer.
Some issues are considered either a civil matter between the two property owners, or minor non-enforceable infractions. These issues may include trees overgrowing property lines and fence disputes. The Town does not get involved in Civil disputes.
To make a complaint regarding a violation of regulations contained in one of these bylaws, the Town requires the complainant provide their name, address, and phone number, as well as their relationship to the issue being submitted. Should the complainant refuse to provide this information, no action will be taken by Bylaw Enforcement. Should a complaint be made, one of the bylaw officers may call to confirm information, or ask further questions regarding the issue.
Considerations to be taken when initiating a complaint
Complainant information is considered as confidential and will not be released to the person whose property is under complaint, unless under an order made by the Provincial Freedom of Information Commissioner. In almost all circumstances, the Freedom of Information Commissioner has sided with a Municipal Policy and not allowed complainant information released, but each case may be looked at individually and decisions may vary accordingly.
The Town may request or require a complainant to act as a witness, should a case be required to be settled in court. This is usually done as a last resort, should the Town case be weak or should bylaw enforcement be unable to determine that a violation has occurred without the evidence of the complainant. A complainant would normally be informed of this requirement at the time of the initial complaint or during the investigative process.
Often complaints are resolved amicably between neighbours. As a result, and if possible, it is recommended that each resident of Osoyoos attempt to resolve their issues before contacting Bylaw Enforcement for assistance. Again, the Town does NOT get involved in Civil disputes.
Animal Control - enquiries regarding dogs at large or to find out if your dog is in the pound, please call the Town office at 250.495.6515. For more information about animal control, see our Animal Control Bylaw 1316, 2016. If you are interested in adopting an animal please contact the Penticton SPCA at 250.493.0136.