Maple Ridge council will be looking at an anti-nuisance bylaw in the new year that targets “disrespectful behaviour that impacts the peace and quiet of our neighbourhoods,” Mayor Mike Morden said in a news release Wednesday.
“This bylaw creates consequences for people engaging in negative behaviour and offers a cost-recovery mechanism that shifts the expense away from taxpayers and relieves police workloads.”
Fines of up to $10,000, along with fees for repeated calls for service will be part of the nuisance prohibition bylaw that will be considered when council sits down at its Jan. 14 meeting.
Morden said that people have a right to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their homes.
“This bylaw will create accountability for all citizens to their neighbours.”
The focus will be on education first, escalating to financial penalties, if necessary, “should the problematic activities continue,” Morden said.
Under the proposed bylaw, a property owner could be charged fees after three nuisance complaints within a year. Before doing so, however, the property owner will be informed by letter.
Proposed fees are $700 for each response thereafter, with another $300 administrative fee tacked on to that.
A staff report from council’s Dec. 10 workshop said that RCMP and bylaws officers, “during the past few years have attended to complaints whereby owners or tenants are continually causing neighbourhood problems, including drug dealing, drunkenness, obscene language, noise and general nuisance behaviour.”
The report said, “these complaints in some cases are frequent and the RCMP are repeatedly called to deal with tenants or occupants who have little or no regard for the impact of their behaviour on their neighbourhoods.”
The report said that in a number of cases residents “engage with drunken behaviour, drug trafficking, profanity, screaming, grossly insulting language and littering …”
As a result, that taxes city resources and adds to costs, staff said.
“This is what we’re asking people to do, is to respect thy neighbour,” Morden said at council.
The bylaw will also address complaints of odour, light and other nuisances arising from businesses, including medical cannabis licensed properties and larger cannabis production facilities not located within agricultural zoned lands, the release said.
Complaints regarding cannabis operations located within the Agricultural Land Reserve, complaints have to be filed with the Farm Industry Review Board.
Council also recently approved an anti-aggressive panhandling bylaw which prohibits begging within 10 metres of some businesses. That bylaw targets aggressive panhandling, stating that people can’t “sit or lie on a street in a manner which obstructs or impedes” pedestrian traffic.
Pitt Meadows and Surrey already have similar nuisance bylaws, the city said.