Bylaw enforcers cannot look the other way
The Editor, As a long-term resident, born and raised in Glengarry County, I know our county is a special place with special people deserving their voices to be heard and their issues to be honest, fairly and passionately represented. That is why, in 2018, I decided to run for Deputy Mayor. While I received consider electoral support, for which I am truly thankful and appreciative, it was, at that time, not sufficient.
Nevertheless, I remain interested in and motivated to help make a difference for the benefit of our county’s residents.
Recently many have spoken with me about issues that matter to them. I know it is important for all of us to hold our municipal officials accountable to help protect the health, safety, security, and quality of life of Glengarry’s residents, in accordance with the relevant bylaws. So I am speaking on behalf of many about the importance of enforcement of bylaws that helps assure public safety and security, resolves neighbourhood differences and helps on a day-to-day basis to promote and sustain community peace and enjoyment and even protect property values.
It is vital for our municipal officials, entrusted with this responsibility, to administer bylaws for those ends, this includes communicating with and educating residents on the bylaws and ensuring bylaw compliance.
To illustrate a few examples of concerns raised, where more rigorous bylaw enforcement will make the right difference, while a dog may be “a person’s best friend,” a bylaw requires owners to keep their dogs on a leash because dog attacks can be very serious events, where people and/or other animals can be severely injured or worse.
Enforcement protects animals and people from harm, even preventing an animal from being euthanized and its owners facing severe fines and/or civil or criminal legal actions. I have been told of many cases where dogs are running loose, even in our parks where young children are playing. Dogs kept on leads helps to protect us all.
After a too long and cold winter, spring’s air is warm and refreshing, or so it should be.
Yet even though one long-standing bylaw requires all compostable matter, such as leaves and grass, to be composted and not burned, unfortunately, many of our neighbours continue to illegally burn this material.
This at a time when their neighbours are outside working to beautify their yards for the coming summer or opening their windows to let in spring’s fresh clean air.
The bylaw is in effect to protect everyone from the known health, even carcinogenic risks, of airborne smoke (Google it) and to protect residents’ reasonable expectations of enjoyment of their property and their community environ.
Our sidewalks are intended to separate people from road traffic for pedestrian safety. Yet as was pointed out to me, motor vehicles, especially ATVs and 4X4s, and, in the winter, snowmobiles, are illegally parking on sidewalks adjacent to local shops, forcing people to walk on the roadway. Public safety investment (our tax dollars) is being lost when this bylaw is not being administered.
I know bylaws protect all residents, and a municipal bylaw is no different than any other law. It can be enforced with penalties; offenders can be charged and fined or even face criminal charges.
Our bylaws and bylaw enforcement officers help protect us from harm and our elected officials are elected to be accountable, to impartially administer bylaws and support the BEO and all of us.
On behalf of those many who have raised issues, I know it is vital that our municipal officials not look the other way but be diligent in applying the bylaws to help us all enjoy health, safety, security and quality of life that we should expect as residents of Glengarry County.
I am always listening to concerned residents and ready to do all that I can to help. Ellery J. Lafave, Williamstown
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