Cumberland bylaw enforcement will echo restorative justice

Cumberland council adopted a bylaw enforcement policy that includes the use of restorative justice techniques.

In a 3-1 vote Cumberland council adopted a bylaw enforcement policy that includes the use of restorative justice techniques through the Community Justice Centre.

Both the complainant and the alleged violator would need to agree to the method and waive confidentiality rights.

“It gives some guidance to the new bylaw enforcement officer,” Coun. Roger Kishi said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Because it does not have the resources to regularly inspect properties and enforce bylaws, the Village needs to rely on complaints from the public.

Complainants need to agree to testify in court, a part of the policy that concerns Mayor Leslie Baird, who worries people might be afraid to lodge a complaint.

Coun. Kate Greening opposed adoption.

• • •

Council gave first reading to a minimum one-per-cent increase in water and sewer/storm utility fees for 2013. The impact on residential utility rates would be $4.

No storm capital projects are planned until after 2013, meaning the following few years would require an average utility rate increase of $22 per year.

Greening, who opposed first reading, motioned to allot $20 to sewer and $5 to water. Her motion was defeated.

Kishi, noting a large hike would be a “definite shock to people,” noted an infrastructure deficit that sooner or later will have to be dealt with.

Coun. Gwyn Sproule would like to compare utility rates from Comox and Courtenay.

“To me, they seem reasonable,” she said.

Because Cumberland is unique, Village CAO Sundance Topham noted the difficulty of comparing the other two municipalities.

• • •

Council approved a $1,700 expenditure from donations to replace 10 ornamental cherry trees at Coal Creek Park.

A landscape contractor will be retained to plant, stake and mulch the trees. In 2009, council approved the planting of 31 trees at the No. 1 Japanese townsite, representing 31 historic Japanese families of the community.

• • •

Linda Safford of the local chapter of the Council of Canadians presented a certificate to council recognizing the village as a Blue Community.

The organization, along with the Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition, has called on local governments  to protect and conserve water by banning the sale of bottled water at events and in public facilities, among other measures.

• • •

Santa’s Breakfast is Dec. 2 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the CRI Hall.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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