Burpee and Mills obtaining legal advice on enforcement of its travel trailer bylaws

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GORE BAY – An official with Burpee and Mills Township, who is also a member of the Manitoulin Planning Board (MPB), says his township council is obtaining legal advice in regards to enforcement of trailer bylaws without having to go through the court process.   

“Right now our municipality has hired a lawyer concerning trailer bylaws and enforcing them,” Ken Noland, reeve of Burpee and Mills Township, told the MPB board at a meeting last week. He said currently enforcing bylaws requires the township to go through the court system. “It is time consuming and costly.”

Mr. Noland explained the township is looking to be able to enforce the trailer bylaw, if someone has a trailer they are living in where they are not supposed to, or have been asked to remove the trailer. This is an issue that has been plaguing a lot of Manitoulin municipalities, especially over the past couple of years.

He explained that recently the province amended the Municipal Act that allows for an administrative fee to be levied for anyone contravening a municipal bylaw and that it does not require going through the court process. 

“A township or municipality could have an administrative fee in place that would be large enough to act as a deterrent (to contravening a municipal bylaw),” said Mr. Noland. 

“We could put an administrative fee in place and if the person cited has not paid the fee within say 15-30 days it can be added to the landowners’ taxes,” said Mr. Noland. “We feel this would be a very good tool for municipalities to use.”

“I asked our lawyer if we could do this within the planning act, and he said he is sure it could,” said Mr. Noland. “I’m just wondering if there is an appetite for other municipalities who may be having the same concerns as we do if they would like to consider sharing the legal fees involved to implement this tool into the new updated bylaws.” 

“This would definitely be precedent setting and help out in these cases,” said MPB member Rob Brown. “Monetarily, we (Cockburn Island) could throw some money into this if our budget supports this.” 

MPB Chair Richard Stephens said “if our council (Central Manitoulin) supports this idea we could add it to our municipal budget which we are currently going through.”

“I think we are going to move forward as a municipality on this,” Reeve Noland told the board.

“Right now the problem is these bylaws are not really enforceable,” said Mayor Stephens.  

Lee Hayden, reeve of Gordon-Barrie Island, encouraged Reeve Noland to provide written information to his council on what the Burpee and Mills lawyer has said.  

“We’ll all take this information to our own areas and decide if this something we should be carrying out through the planning board,” added Mayor Stephens.