Dave Cunningham of Telus and Bill Storie

Province willing to scrap it out over scrap metal with tough law

Maple Ridge council though was about to pass its own and may do so

pJust when the District of Maple Ridge was about to approve a bylaw to curb metal thefts, the B.C. government is taking on the task.

So the district will wait and see just what comes out of Victoria before making any decisions on its own incipient legislation.

Council was set to review the new scrap metal bylaw at its Nov. 7 meeting.

“They can make a decision on whether to go forward with this. It may address all of the issues, it may not. We just need to see all of what it says,” said district bylaws director Liz Holitzky.

The draft bylaw introduced in September at Maple Ridge council called for daily notification to police of inventory accepted, taking ID of those who brought in the scrap metal (but not send it to police), and requiring dealers to hold on to the goods for a week before reselling them.

The latter concerned Mike Salo, with Fraser Valley Metal Exchange, who said keeping material for seven days would require him to increase the amount of cash reserve in his bank account. He says he could fax in the transactions daily to police, but it would make more sense for police to fax in their lists of stolen materials so the shops can watch for it.

However, other cities have had no such objections, said Holitzky. “They’re not getting that complaint from dealers.”

The provincial bill is called the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act and was introduced during Crime Prevention Week and, if passed, will make B.C. the first Canadian province with legislation targeting scrap-metal transactions.

According to a news release from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, scrap metal dealers will have to collect IDs of sellers, then assign each a code number. Police only could get the personal information from the dealer through a court-ordered warrant.

Dealers also will have to record details of the metal purchased and send that to police every day.

Under the law, it will be illegal to buy scrap if a dealer can’t get the above information.

Holitzky though wants to see the exact legislation before recommending any course to council.

That could be a long time, maybe next year, she added.

Holitzky said if Maple Ridge passed its own scrap metal bylaw in the meantime, it could repeal its own law when provincial law is enacted. Then Maple Ridge could, and draw up a new bylaw to fill in any gaps left in provincial legislation.

According to the release, fewer than a dozen Lower Mainland municipalities have bylaws

that require scrap dealers to maintain records of copper and other high-

value metals they purchase, and to share details daily with local police.

Variations in bylaws and enforcement have failed to curb the problem, and

municipalities and utilities have called for a consistent, provincial

approach.

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