Build­ing with­out per­mit costly

Car­bon­ear cracks down on rule break­ers with charges, fines

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

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.

Con­vic­tions

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.

Con­se­quences

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.

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

Car­bon­ear’s mu­nic­i­pal en­force­ment of­fi­cer Gord Par­sons has been busy en­sur­ing lo­cals com­ply with town rules and reg­u­la­tions.

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