District awards a contract for bylaw enforcement

Briefs from the District of Invermere council meeting on December 11.

After advertising for three weeks for the position of bylaw enforcement services, the District of Invermere (DOI) received only one proposal and as such have awarded the contract to the Commissionaires British Columbia (CBC).

The initial term will commence on January 1, 2013 and will run until December 31, 2013. At that time, the contract may be terminated or extended to a maximum of five years. The proposal submitted will cost the district an annual amount of $26,520, not including taxes. The Commissionaires’ proposal is based upon 20 hours per week at an hourly rate of $25.50 plus applicable taxes. The contractor will be responsible for investigation, reporting, resolving violations, issuing violation tickets and warnings and the collection of fees for municipal bylaws, including but not limited to: zoning, development permits, streets and traffic, unsightly premises, signs, deposit of fill, soil removal, loitering and public nuisances, noise, building, animal, wildlife feeding and solid waste.

The Commissionaires is one the largest private security organizations in Canada, with over 20,000 employees across the country and approximately 300 in the B.C. Interior. The CBC also provide enforcement services to 16 other municipalities of similar size.

New water billing options examined

While the DOI is exploring a new water billing bylaw to combat ever-mounting infrastructure costs, basement suites will be exempt from any changes.

Currently, the district charges anywhere from $85 to $465 bi-annually for a base water meter fee. The proposed bylaw would see a $95 bi-annual base fee for all residential units, including strata owners, apartments, duplexes, three-plexes and four-plexes.

Council voted 4-1 in favour of excluding basement suites from any new bylaw, with councillor Greg Anderson saying that it would serve to discourage illegal secondary suite owners from identifying themselves and getting their suite registered.

There are only 47 legal secondary suites in Invermere, although mayor Gerry Taft acknowledged that there are plenty more that are unaccounted for.

District Director of Finance Karen Cote said applying the new water billing bylaw to the 47 registered secondary suites in Invermere would bring in roughly $9,000 per year. Councillor Paul Denchuk was the only councillor to vote against excluding basement suites.

“The argument for charging a flat fee versus a ‘per water meter fee’ was that inherently there is a base cost of providing water to a dwelling unit and includes the cost of maintaining the distribution lines, pressure reducing stations, the chlorine contact chamber, the water metering program, cross connection program, reservoirs, booster stations, etc.,” Cote stated in her report to council.