Fire Captains to get ticketing authority

The city is moving to make it easier for the fire department to write up tickets for those who break city bylaws.

At last week’s council meeting, council gave first and second reading to a bylaw amendment that will give more firefighters the authority to issue tickets.

Currently, only the city’s fire chief, deputy fire chief and fire inspector can write up tickets for bylaw infractions.

Karl Read, the city’s bylaw enforcement officer, said that adding fire captains to that function will make it easier on the fire department when going through the ticketing process.

“Fire department staff routinely attend incidents at which none of these designates may be present but for which it may be appropriate to issue a ticket for a bylaw contravention,” Read wrote in a report to council. “Fire captains are able to perform that role.”

The fire department has the legal means to write up tickets for things like open burning infractions – which carry fines of up to $10,000 – as well as for offences related to the city’s fireworks bylaw.

That bylaw makes it illegal to sell fireworks anywhere within the City of Campbell River’s jurisdiction and prohibits the use of fireworks without a permit, as well as bans the sale, possession and use of firecrackers.

Anyone who does not comply with those rules can face a fine of not less than $100 and no more than $10,000 or, in extreme cases – imprisonment.

Mayor Andy Adams said that by allowing fire captains to write up tickets for such infractions, it will expedite the penalty process.

“It enables the captains who are with their crew and generally first on the scene in these types of instances, to act on them at the time that the incident is actually happening rather than bringing it back to the department and then having to submit a report and then having that report acted on,” Adams said.

Adams suggested that the move may be a good candidate for the province’s Reducing Red Tape program which aims to remove barriers and make it easier and faster to deal with governments.

“Maybe something we’d want to submit as our helping to facilitate and take some of the bureaucracy out,” Adams said.