On February 4th Mr Brad Watson delegated before council regarding the enforcement measures that regulate noise prohibitions #6 and #11 under Schedule B of the town’s Noise By-law.
Watson comes to the meeting more prepared than the majority of council members, and you can watch him at 17:55 – 32:13
He outlines the exact sections of the bylaw in question:
He then outlines consistent breaches of said bylaw:
He then goes on to outline the actions he has taken to resolve the issue, indicating the the dates he addressed the issue with both staff and council members:
Watson claims he sent correspondence to the Mayor and council on December 2nd and one month later on January 7th. To which he says he received a response from a single councillor. No other response from the town whatsoever.
Watson confirms that after 7 months the issue is unresolved. What he received instead is a laundry list of excuses:
Okay let’s break this down.
1.) Enforcement is complaint based.
And the town received a complaint. It is located in Aurora. Google Maps provides addresses. WTF?
2.) Not receiving a lot of complaints.
But you received this one. What is the process in addressing a single complaint? Is it ignored until a second or third are made?
3.) Would need expensive extra staff to monitor.
I believe the town’s annual budget outlines that they already have expensive staff. Are all bylaw staff occupied with none to monitor issues arrived via complaints?
4.) Businesses are tax payers too.
Businesses that are expected to conform to the bylaw. When they fail to they are subject to penalties regardless of how much tax they pay.
5.) Fines levied on businesses are just a cost of doing business.
Great, so staff confirms that the current bylaw is recognized as having no teeth.
Here’s an idea council, actually get something done instead of hashtagging.
Obviously the past 2 decades of councils have failed to address this issue resulting in the situation we are in now.
Watson shares with council a brief comparison between the level of fines as a means of deterrent here in Aurora to other municipalities. He mentions Mississauga and Oshawa. He claims Whitchurch Stoufville’s bylaw is written such that fines are 1st offence – $50,000 and 2nd offence – $100,000. In Toronto there is a clause in their bylaws when violated that each director of a corporation is subject to a fine of $100,000.
Given that Watson has done the heavy lifting of reporting violations occurring at several locations around town at between the hours of 4 and 7AM in lieu of town staff monitoring this issue, it seems fair that the town provide him the answer to his question as to how many fines have been issued in the past 6 months?
I’d also like to know :
What are the amounts of those fines?
Are there repeat offenders?
Have staff made any recommendations to council to adjust the bylaw in the past 15 years so that it is more effective and enforceable?
Sadly this whole exercise reminds me of back in August of 2018 when the Town was too slow to enforce parking bylaws.
If the town is unable to enforce noise and traffic bylaws what exactly is it spending its time on?