Building without permit costly
Carbonear cracks down on rule breakers with charges, fines
If you ignore a warning or citation in the Town of Carbonear for breaking the municipality’s rules or regulations, you could end up in court.
That was the experience of several locals over the past few years, with two recently being charged and convicted of noncompliance.
The town’s municipal enforce- ment officer Gord Parsons has spent many days at Harbour Grace Provincial Court since beginning his position four years ago.
Over that time, the former Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer has introduced a strategy to ensure townsfolk are applying for permits, following regulations and understanding the rules that are in place.
Whether it’s building a shed without a permit, letting an animal roam the streets, parking in restricted areas or dumping trash in the woods, each local is required to know the town bylaws. They can be found in the Newfoundland and Labrador Municipalities Act. Bylaw specifications and information can also be accessed at the town hall.
But Parsons doesn’t assume everyone knows the bylaws, noting certain issues don’t al- ways require a permit. Also, traditionally some things have been done differently. Because of this, discussing the situation is usually the first step. Then a warning to note they are violating legislation would be given.
“I’ve given people the benefit of the doubt,” Parsons told to The Compass.
But when they don’t comply with the warning, further action is taken.
In May and June, two Carbonear residents were convicted of violating town regulations.
On May 22, Bernard Collins was charged under the Municipalities Act for constructing a building on his property without the proper permits.
The act states, “A council may make an order that the person pull down, stop construction, remove, fill in, alter or destroy the building and restore the site to its original state or make the alterations or disposition of the building that the order directs where a person has (constructed) a building without a permit as required under section 194.”
The town council repeatedly notified Collins that a permit was required for the structure. He was given a fine of $100 for non-compliance.
On June 12, Clay Oates was also at provincial court for a non-compliance-related case. He was charged under the Urban Rural Planning Act after failing to clean up his property and repeatedly refusing to do so.
A person convicted under these circumstances can receive a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000. Failing to pay the fine can result in a jail sentence of up to three months. They can also be ordered to pay a fine and serve jail time.
Oates received a $500 fine with a year to pay.
These are some extreme cases where those who were told they were non-compliant to town regulations have been charged. But Parsons explained most resident don’t allow these issues to get to court at all.
When served with paperwork to go to court, most start the process of applying for a permit or whatever else is required to comply with town regulations, he explained.
But many of the town’s residents are just unfamiliar with regulations, so a quick chat with Parsons is all it takes to get any confusion straightened out.
On the rare occasion that Parsons does have to go to court, he is prepared to proceed with charges. And on the even more rare occurrence that the person called to court pleads not guilty, Parsons has his homework done and usually has some photographs, paperwork and anything else he requires to demonstrate non-compliance.
He recommends that people learn their bylaws, check with the town and comply with any and all instruction before going ahead with any big project. The results of not doing so could be a warning, a fine or charges in court.
It will definitely save time and frustration, Parsons said.
Carbonear’s municipal enforcement officer Gord Parsons has been busy ensuring locals comply with town rules and regulations.