Complaints about watering restrictions rose significantly last year, but the number of calls into the bylaw enforcement office went down overall for the first time in five years. Black Press file photo

Bylaw calls go down while parking tickets go up in 2017 in Campbell River

For the first time in five years, the overall number of calls in to bylaw enforcement decreased

The City of Campbell River’s bylaw enforcement had been dealing with an increasing number calls for five straight years, but when last year’s final statistics came before council last week, the numbers finally showed a change.

The number of bylaw complaints actually decreased slightly between 2016 and 2017, down to 820 from 887 the year before, despite seeing complaints in some categories rise significantly.

Calls coming in to bylaw officers about watering restrictions rose by over 250 per cent last year, but because that number as a percentage of the total calls into the office is so small, it didn’t have that much effect on the overall call volume. In fact, the increase in calls about watering was counteracted by the fewer number of calls the city received about graffiti – the city’s number one complaint.

Unsightly property came in at No. 2 on the list of most frequent bylaw complaints, followed by complaints about visibility at intersections.

While the calls into the office may have gone down in 2017, the number of parking tickets given out increased significantly.

Robbins Parking Service Ltd. is under contract with the city to provide parking enforcement patrols in the downtown area, and they issued a whopping 53 per cent more tickets in 2017 than they did in 2016, bringing the total to 2,310 from 1,512 the year before.

When the numbers came before council, however, the only question for city staff was what they were doing to prepare for marijuana consumption being legalized later this year.

Coun. Larry Samson wanted to know how much collaboration and discussion has been happening between bylaw enforcement officers in different communities “about the different steps that are going to be needed as we go forward with marijuana regulations as far as odour and other problems that could occur in our neighbourhood.

Director of Planning Peter Wipper told Samson that is definitely something that’s on the agenda at an upcoming annual conference of bylaw officers being held this spring, “and we will be providing council with an update and the process that staff is reccomending in terms of responding to the federal legislation, and that will be coming forward at a future COW (Committee of the Whole) meeting.”