BY TIM NOHARA
Special to The VOICE
I hope this update finds you well. As you are aware, Pelham passed its Odorous Industries Nuisance Bylaw 4202 (2020) on March 23, 2020, to address complaints from residents with respect to cannabis odour. The bylaw has a public complaints component and a contractor monitoring program component for enforcement. We had hoped to have the bylaw fully implemented in just 90 days, but COVID-19 contributed some delays. Thank you for your patience.
Recently, the Town implemented the public complaints component of the bylaw which allows you to file an odour nuisance complaint with the Town that our enforcement officers can respond to. Now that this is in place, it is important for residents to file complaints properly, accurately, and as quickly as possible so that they can be responded to if enforcement officers are available; and so they can be tracked by the Town. The purpose of this commentary is to show you how to properly file an odour complaint with the Town, if and when you experience cannabis odour that is bothering you.
In order to file a cannabis odour complaint, you will need to use the Town’s “Report a Problem” link on the home page www.pelham.ca. There are two links on the home page as illustrated below; and while they look different, they serve the same function. They both take you to Pelham’s PSR (Public Service Request) page, which allows you to enter the required details of your complaint. After the information is entered, you submit your complaint, and it is automatically forwarded to Pelham’s bylaw Enforcement Team headed by Chief Bob Lymburner. Craig Genesse and Greg Young are the Town’s enforcement officers. You will hear from one of them after they receive your complaint.
Let me now take you through the process in a little more detail.
When you click on the “Report a Problem” link, you will be taken to the PSR page illustrated on page 14, below. Once there, you will next need to click on the blue button entitled “Let’s get going!” which will take you to the Create page where you will be able to enter your complaint information.
The Create page may seem a little intimidating, but it is really quite simple and shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to complete once you get the hang of it.
(Note: If your pages do not look like these [e.g., you are missing buttons, lists to select from, or areas to enter information], then please try a different web browser. Unfortunately, web pages do not always behave the same on different computers [PC vs Mac] or browsers.)
When you first see the Create page, it will list four types of information you can enter to describe your complaint: What, Where, Image/Video/Document, and Info. To enter information for each type, you click on the respective blue button on the right. As it is not likely that you will need to include images, videos, or documents to describe your cannabis odour complaint, I suggest you leave that one alone and focus on completing the other three. Please start with What by clicking on the blue “Select” button on the right.
You will be taken to the What page, and a list of issues will appear alphabetically. Use the scroll bar on your browser (or the down arrow on your keyboard) to scroll down to “By Law Enforcement” and select it by clicking on it. This will cause a window to drop down listing different types of By Law Enforcement issues. You will see that “Cannabis Odour-Issue” is the first one in the list. Click on that one to select it.
You will be returned to the Create page with the What area now containing “Cannabis Odour-Issue” as shown below instead of “Not selected yet.”
Next, do the same for Where by clicking on the blue “Define” button on the right and you will be taken to the Where page. You can enter the address where the odour was experienced, and then click the blue “Use this” button which will bring up a map showing the location of your complaint. You should see a purple balloon marker shown on the map at the entered address (you may have to scroll the map to the left or right to see it in the window). Once you have entered the address, you click on the blue “next” button at the top right of the page and you will be taken back to the Create page with the address of the complaint filled in under Where, as illustrated below.
Now click on the blue “Edit” button on the right hand side of the Info row to enter a full description of your complaint. Please be sure to describe what you smelled, how strong the smell was, the date and time you smelled it, any problems you experienced because of the odour, et cetera. Once complete, you will be returned to the Create page with your information entered.
Finally, you will notice that a new row has appeared on the page entitled Requested Info. You need to click on the blue “Edit” button on the right to enter the required information (your name, address) after which you will be returned to the Create page completely filled out. A blue “You can send your request now” button will now appear at the bottom.
Click on the “You can send your request now” button and your complaint will be submitted. You will get an email confirmation a short time later. And that’s all there is to it.
A word of caution. Please be reasonable with your expectations regarding our enforcement team’s ability to quickly respond and independently validate your complaint. For example, if a complaint occurs on the weekend or in the evening, please do file your complaint when you experience the problem, even though enforcement staff may not be on call or may be unable to respond until after the smell is long gone. The important part is your data will be accurately reported and captured, and this will help the Town to optimize scheduling of enforcement personnel.
The contractor monitoring component of the bylaw is being designed by an odour expert retained by the Town and will be implemented in a few months. This component will allow for day and night monitoring of odour at randomized days/times and locations. Your accurate complaint data will help the Town and its monitoring contractor optimize their dates and times to maximize odour detection and enforcement.
Thank you all for your cooperation and assistance. You are part of the solution — the Town can not succeed on this without you. I thank my colleagues on the CCC who worked very hard to develop this bylaw, along with council for approving it and staff for implementing it. ◆
Tim Nohara is the Chair of Pelham’s Cannabis Control Committee.
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