Spaniard’s Bay considers MEO role
Deputy Mayor says officer would be beneficial, some councillors disagree
Spaniard’s Bay Deputy Mayor Darlene Stamp has suggested the town should hire a municipal enforcement officer. Find out why.
Spaniard’s Bay council is reviewing the pros and cons of hiring a municipal enforcement officer (MEO) for the community.
During a regular meeting of council on Oct. 1, Deputy Mayor Darlene Stamp brought forth the idea of the town creating a position amongst town staff for an MEO to better enforce municipal bylaws and other regulations within the town’s limits.
Stamp put forth a motion for Mayor Paul Brazil to reach out to neighbouring communities to drum up interest in the idea of a cost-sharing endeavour between Spaniard’s Bay and any other communities who may be interested in having an MEO.
However, before any motions were carried, the idea sparked some debate among councillors, some of whom said an MEO could prove to be a financial burden to the community in the future.
Despite this, Stamp said hiring an MEO could also be beneficial for the town, as she saw it as a means of not only enforcing the town’s rules and regulations, but also ensuring the safety of the community’s residents.
“Some of the benefits our town would have? An enforcement officer could deal with parking issues within the town, noise complaints, things like that,” said Stamp. “Waste collection, other nuisances in the town could all be handled by an enforcement officer. A lot of the complaints that we’re getting around town, we have no way of addressing. If we had a municipal officer, then we could address some of those concerns.”
While some of Spaniard’s Bay’s more populated neighbours, such as Harbour Grace, Bay Roberts, and Carbonear, already have MEOs in place, Stamp noted that there are still smaller communities nearby, such as Brigus or North River, who could likely benefit from sharing the cost of hiring an MEO to help maintain bylaws within those communities, as well.
However, some councillors present at Monday night’s meeting felt as though the idea of hiring an MEO could possibly bring along some issues for the town as well. Coun. David Smith noted some of the duties outlined for the MEO, such as noise complaints and parking issues, are already handled by the local RCMP detachment in Bay Roberts.
“I would be against it, either way. If this is going to be costshared, then how much time is this individual going to spend in Spaniard’s Bay? Some of the responsibilities listed here are usually handled by the RCMP, and unless we’re going to come up with some bylaws and fine people, I don’t see how some of these other (duties) are going to be enforced,” said Smith.
“When it comes to mandating fines and everything else, then I think costs are going to skyrocket, because you’re going to end up in court, and every time we go to court we have to hire a lawyer. So, I would be against it.”
On top of this, Smith questioned whether or not the overtime payment for this position is something that had been discussed, adding that he felt there would likely be situations where an MEO would need to be called in on a weekend, despite working Monday through Friday.
“I can see the costs skyrocketing out of control here,” he said.
Stamp followed this up by pointing out the motion put forth was not to make a concrete decision and, instead, was simply to look into the costs, and the possibility of sharing those costs with neighbouring towns. However, she still felt as though an MEO would be a very beneficial investment.
“We get numerous complaints within this town, and we always get the statement that we can’t do anything because we don’t have anyone to enforce the regulations,” Stamp said. “How can you do it? You don’t have an enforcement officer, you can’t do it. We can’t continue to just ignore people’s complaints and concerns.”
Coun. David Smith
Deputy Mayor Darlene Stamp