Abbotsford city council has endorsed a new guide that provides an overview of some of the city bylaws that most commonly raise questions or concerns.
The introduction to the Good Neighbour Guide states that it was created “to help residents and businesses understand the various regulations and bylaws to help ensure our community and neighbourhoods remain, safe, healthy and a great place to live, work and play.”
Among the 19 bylaws addressed in the first draft of the guide are abandoned/vacant properties and buildings, animal control, construction, fireworks, noise, parking and secondary suites.
Magda Laljee, senior manager of bylaw services, said in a recent presentation to council that the city has 46 bylaw regulations but only the most commonly addressed ones were included in the guide.
Lajlee said the booklet includes a brief description of each bylaw “in layman’s terms,” who to call for more information and how to report a contravention.
“It guides the citizens through their responsibilities within their neighbourhood,” she said.
For example, the page on fireworks states that they are illegal in Abbotsford without a permit, and only licensed and trained pyrotechnicians can apply for one.
Lajlee said 2020 was a particularly busy year for fireworks-related bylaw complaints, when there were a total of 41 calls received over Halloween and Diwali, resulting in three fines, 25 warnings and the seizure of fireworks from 11 locations.
She said this compares to eight calls and two fines in 2018, and 11 calls, one fine and five warnings in 2019.
Lajlee said parking is another area that draws much concern. That page in the guide provides diagrams indicating how far a vehicle must be parked from a driveway (1.5 metres), a crosswalk (six metres) and a fire hydrant (five metres).
One issue addressed in the guide that isn’t yet a bylaw relates to light pollution, but Lajlee said this will be proposed in the future as an amendment to the city’s Good Neighbour Bylaw.
“The reason we put this in the guide is because we recognize that it is a concern within our neighbourhoods, and it is a concern in the environment,” Lajlee said.
The guide was unanimously endorsed by councillors.
“This is an amazing tool. I would probably say it is long overdue … I think our residents will really come to appreciate it,” said Dave Loewen.
Mayor Henry Braun said he’s looking forward to the rollout of the guide.
“I’m hoping this will simplify some of the things we deal with at city hall on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
The guide is expected to be launched sometime in the next week, with more details released at that time about how and where it can be accessed.