Residents of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District involved in minor bylaw infractions, such as animal and zoning complaints, can now take their disputes to an independent adjudicator working outside the traditional courtroom, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton announced at the Union of BC Municipalities convention in Vancouver.
Effective Sept. 30, 2013, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, as well as the Regional District of Central Kootenay, the District of Coldstream and the City of Williams Lake will join the bylaw adjudication system, which is offered through the Ministry of Justice.
The adjudication system saves local governments time and money and makes for more efficient use of court resources by eliminating the roles of court and court registries in the administration and hearing of these disputes.
Each jurisdiction determines which bylaws it would like included in the process. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District plans to use the system to enforce water, utilities, unsightly premises, building, some zoning and other similar bylaw disputes more efficiently and effectively.
As part of ongoing reform to the justice system, the B.C. government is increasing the number of alternative ways to resolve disputes, when appropriate, without requiring individuals to use the courts. Court alternatives help to reduce stress, shorten the time required to resolve disputes and ultimately cut costs for both the individual and taxpayer.
Thompson- Nicola Regional District Board Chair Randy Murray said, “I am happy to announce that as a part of our bylaw enforcement efforts, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District is pursuing joining more than 60 other B.C. local governments, including Sun Peaks and Barriere, both in the TNRD, already using the adjudication system.”
“The adjudication system eliminates the roles of court and court registries in the administration and hearing of minor disputes. It is our hope that this system will make TNRD’s bylaw enforcement more fair and expedient, saving time and money, and will make for more efficient use of court resources when necessary. We hope to partner with our member municipalities and potentially with other interested nearby local governments for adjudication administration.”