The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is making a number of changes to its Bylaw Services Branch.
The Municipality says the Branch is returning to its core mandate of education, awareness, and enforcement of Municipal Bylaws, such as Animal Control, Noise, Nuisance Property, and Smoke Free.
As of today, Bylaw Services is now apart of Planning and Development instead of Community and Protective Services. Part of this transition means Bylaw Officers no longer have jurisdiction to enforce moving violations under the Provincial Traffic Safety Act.
That duty will remain with RCMP.
Manager of Bylaw Services Monty Hillier tells Mix News they’ve also changed the Peace Officer’s status, downgrading them from a level one to a level two.
“In the past, we had level one status, so if we were driving down the road and someone done something they weren’t supposed to do, we could pull them over and deal with them on a Provincial Act same as the RCMP. But we want to get away from that and focus on the Bylaw part and let the RCMP maintain that part.”
As part of this change, Hillier says Peace Officer uniform colours and vehicles will change back to Bylaw Services to eliminate any confusion.
The department is also relocating to the Underground Services Building near Taiganova Industrial Park. The RMWB is anticipating the office move will happen in October.
Hillier says the biggest change for the public is they won’t go to the RCMP detachment to see Bylaw once they’re in the new building.
“But regardless, service to the public, that should not change for us. We’ll still deal with Bylaws as normal, we just won’t be doing the moving part of it. They’ll still get their parking tickets, they’ll still get their nuisance about the tall grass and weeds and all that good stuff, we’ll still come to the doors and give them the bad news.”
Hillier notes none of the 35 Bylaw Officers are losing their jobs, but their hours are being cut back slightly from 84 bi-weekly to 80.
The RMWB says it’s a little too early to determine precisely what the cost savings will be, however they estimate the transition could see a $1.2 million annual cost savings to taxpayers beginning in 2018.
– With files from Brandon Piper