KELOWNA - Bylaw officers in Kelowna were kept busy in 2017 with a bump in the number of calls.
Bylaw services manager David Gazley said calls for service were up approximiately 2.2 per cent to 13,258.
“It was busy and it got busier,” Gazley said, of his time as bylaw manager since taking over the position in June.
Parking violations is the top category keeping his 13 full-time bylaw officers busy, writing 3,806 tickets in 2017 (which doesn’t include those written by Kelowna’s parking enforcement staff).
Gazley says he doesn’t have numbers but dealing with transient camps and homeless people in parks and public places is the next biggest violation his officers must deal with.
“To be honest, I have no idea because typically we just move them along,” Gazley said.
Noise violations which includes barking dogs, construction noise and loud music are next on the list, Gazley said, even though bylaw officers wrote just 14 tickets for excessive noise in 2017 as well as 47 for unsightly premises.
Complaints about run-down houses, abandonded businesses and old farms also take up a lot of time, with officers writing 47 tickets last year.
“These numbers would not include warning tickets or verbal warnings,” Gazley added.
They also don’t reflect the amount of time officers put in acting as street counsellors to homeless people or giving directions to tourists amongst other things.
“Last year we rescued two people with overdoses,” he pointed out. “We’re the ones coming across these folks who are overdosing, lying on the ground.”
One of his goals as the new bylaw manager is to upgrade data collection and reporting, Gazley said, with the aim of making bylaw enforcement more proactive than it already is.
“My background is in the RCMP where we have excellent record keeping,” he added, noting Kelowna still keeps some paper records. “I want to find a better record keeping and analytical tool.”
Gazley’s department has recently added three new positions, including a senior bylaw officer and a supervisor, although they are still waiting for the supervisor to start work. The city also hires four casual officers for the annual sumer bike patrol.
The annual budget for the bylaw services department is approximately $1.8 million.
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