Township takes dim view of bylaw disrespect
The Township of Wainfleet is gearing up for additional enforcement of its bylaws after a significant spike in illegal activity in recent weeks.
According to a Township statement released Friday, May 29, the Township’s front line staff and Protective Services officials have been fielding an increased number of calls from residents complaining about a variety of offences, including illegal parking, littering, blocking fire lanes and unauthorized open air burning.
“Further investigation revealed that other provincial and federal offences were taking place including trespassing, public drinking and drag racing, as well as failure to comply with the provincial ban on gatherings over five persons under the current state of emergency,” read the statement.
“This kind of behaviour is not only dangerously irresponsible and puts public safety at risk,” said Mayor Kevin Gibson, “but it also represents a significant disrespect to our bylaws as the standards of our community and established by council on behalf of the residents of Wainfleet. The lane restrictions from cars parked illegally and in fire lanes, means reduced abilty of emergency responders to do their jobs and could cost someone their life.”
Many of the issues are taking place along the Quarry Road area as people flock to the popular open water location to swim and sunbathe and gather in large groups, some days in excess of 200 people. The location however, is only open for passive use at this point by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA).
“Only passive use such as hiking, birdwatching and dog walking are permitted at this time. These activities allow our community to enjoy natural spaces without gathering in groups or lingering, which can prevent other residents from also enjoying the area,” said NPCA CAO Chandra Sharma.
“Given that activities such as swimming and bonfires have never been permitted, this behaviour is quite disappointing as our staff have worked diligently to carefully reopen our Conservation Areas for the safe enjoyment of local residents.”
Gibson said Wainfleet council has appointed several additional bylaw enforcement officers in response to increased enforcement responsibilities handed down from the provincial government in response to the recent pandemic.
According to the statement, in response to the recent upsurge in complaints, senior staff have been partnering with other agencies such as the NPCA and the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRP) to address the issues and help to protect public safety. This partnership will see the NPCA authorizing the Niagara Regional Police and Wainfleet’s Protective Services department to enforce provincial and municipal offences on and around the Quarry land.
“We’ve tried to be reasonable and do this the easy way through information and education,” said Gibson, “but since people are not taking this seriously, I guess we have to do it the hard way, through enforcement.”
In addition to ticketing vehicles, officers will be having vehicles towed and impounded. All costs and charges for removal and storage are a lien upon said vehicle, which may be enforced in the manner provided by the Mechanic’s Lien Act and Repair and Storage Liens Act.