Build­ing depart­ment rapped for ‘fail­ure to com­mu­ni­cate’

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - News Pro­vin­cial Of­fences Act,” Build­ing Code On­tario Build­ing Code, Build­ing Code Act, Code Act,” Build­ing


Staff South Glen­garry Mayor Frank Prevost con­tin­ued his bat­tle against short­com­ings in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s build­ing depart­ment dur­ing a spe­cial meet­ing of coun­cil Novem­ber 29.

Outgoing mayor Ian McLeod set the stage for dis­cus­sion by re­lat­ing that the chief build­ing of­fi­cial, Kevin Lalonde, had is­sued an or­der to com­ply to an uniden­ti­fied res­i­dent last year.

That or­der had a com­pli­ance date of Dec. 15, 2017, and as of Nov. 29, there had been no ac­tion taken on the or­der.

“Un­der the law, it is now the obli­ga­tion of the build­ing of­fi­cial to set a court date un­der Part 3 of the

ex­plained Mr. McLeod, who pointed out that af­ter Dec. 15, 2018 the mu­nic­i­pal­ity can­not lay any charges against the in­di­vid­ual. Mr. Prevost asked if the

re­quired that the res­i­dent be charged and taken to court. He also won­dered “if we could ask the court to give this in­di­vid­ual more time” to com­ply with the or­der, or have the charges dropped al­to­gether.

He added that the prop­erty owner has been “do­ing his due dili­gence” to get the mat­ter re­solved, a claim later con­tested by Mr. Lalonde, and that the or­der re­garded a struc­ture erected prior to the present owner’s pur­chase of the prop­erty.

Mr. Lalonde replied that the pro­vi­sions of the and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s “duty of care,” re­quired that the in­di­vid­ual be charged.

“As for ask­ing the court (for an ex­ten­sion or to drop the charges), once the charges are laid, it would be the per­son’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to ap­peal to the court for more time. It wouldn’t be ours,” said Mr. Lalonde.

“How they deal with that charge would be up to them.”

As for Mr. Prevost’s claim that the res­i­dent was “try­ing to do the best that they can” to com­ply, Mr. Lalonde saw things a lit­tle dif­fer­ently. “We have con­tacted the per­son. In a year, I’ve only spo­ken to or been in email con­tact with them twice,” said Mr. Lalonde. “And each time I ad­vised them that they needed to get this re­solved.”

Mr. Prevost then ques­tioned if “any­body in the gen­eral pub­lic” was aware that an ex­ten­sion could be sought. Mr. Lalonde replied that “it’s writ­ten on the or­der to com­ply.” reach out to us, we don’t con­stantly re­mind them on a monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly ba­sis that the com­pli­ance date hasn’t been met.”

Dis­sat­is­fied with Mr. Lalonde’s re­ply, Mr. Prevost re­it­er­ated, “We’re not com­mu­ni­cat­ing” with town­ship res­i­dents.

“We’re just send­ing out the or­der to com­ply and it’s up to that per­son to make sure that they un­der­stand the or­der, from top to ques­tion’s not asked, it’s very dif­fi­cult to an­swer.”

Af­ter stat­ing that he “wasn’t pre­pared to an­swer all of the ques­tions” re­lated to the mat­ter, Mr. Lalonde said he’d been le­nient with the res­i­dent in ques­tion.

“There were two charges that could have been laid,” he said. “The per­son could have been charged for con­struct­ing with no per­mit, al­beit they didn’t do the con­struc­tion...We haven’t laid that charge be­cause I ap­pre­ci­ate that they didn’t do the con­struc­tion. But it’s their re­spon­si­bil­ity to com­ply with the fail­ing to com­ply or­der. That’s the of­fence that they com­mit­ted.”

Mr. Prevost then sought clar­i­fi­ca­tion.

“In the does it say, ‘must,’ ‘shall,’ ‘if you want to,’ ‘you don’t have to,’? What does it say?” he asked.

“It says that the chief build­ing of­fi­cial shall en­force the

replied Mr. Lalonde. “‘Shall’ doesn’t mean you must,” said Mr. Prevost, elic­it­ing an ex­as­per­ated re­sponse from town­ship CAO Bryan Brown.

“It means un­der the law, ‘shall,’” stated an ob­vi­ously ir­ri­tated Mr. Brown, who also took of­fence to Mr. Prevost’s re­peated claims that the town­ship’s build­ing depart­ment is “not com­mu­ni­cat­ing with our peo­ple,” when it comes to deal­ing with lated is­sues.

“With all due re­spect, that’s not what’s hap­pen­ing,” he fumed.

Mr. McLeod backed the CAO’s claim, point­ing out that lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion doesn’t ap­pear to be an is­sue. “My un­der­stand­ing is that there have been very, very few sit­u­a­tions where we don’t have a back-and-forth of in­for­ma­tion, and that we get into this sit­u­a­tion,” he said. Deputy-mayor Lyle War­den con­cluded the dis­cus­sion on a more civil note with a pro­ce­dural ques­tion for Mr. Lalonde. “In a sit­u­a­tion where an or­der was is­sued, and it lapsed, for what­ever rea­son, if it was a cler­i­cal er­ror or some­body turned the other way, could you not just reis­sue an­other or­der to com­ply and restart the process?” he asked.

“No, be­cause that’s proven in court to be an abuse of process,” an­swered Mr. Lalonde. Build­ing Code Act- re-

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