Yukon News

Complaint-based bylaw enforcement a cop-out

Wednesday December 7, 2016

The recently-released coroner’s report on the collision that killed Margaret Johnson this past February describes the incident as an accident, which it no doubt was, as neither party wanted it to happen. (Editor’s note: Johnson died from a collision with a pickup truck that took place after she drove her wheelchair onto Second Avenue to get around a stretch of sidewalk that hadn’t been cleared of snow). It certainly was not the best decision to travel on the roadway which was clear of ice and snow.

In Whitehorse, like most other municipalities, there is a law which requires that ice and snow be cleared from sidewalks in front of both homes and businesses. There is an enforcement agency — Bylaw Services — which in the real world would be enforcing bylaws on a proactive basis. In Whitehorse, bylaw enforcement takes place only in response to complaints.

I suggest that is a total cop-out by the mayor, council and the people in charge of the bylaw office. Margaret Johnson would likely still be alive today if the city and its staff were doing their jobs.

Bylaw enforcement did not always work on a complaint basis and it really stinks that this is how it works now. Doing enforcement this way avoids the real issue, which is that people are truly apprehensive of going on the record as a complainant because of the potential for retribution against them.

Mayor, council and senior bylaw staff should be ashamed of themselves.

Larry Leigh Whitehorse


Josey Wales wrote:
12:29am Saturday December 17, 2016

Hey Atom….I made no such claim, I did however cease my “Star” activities.
Perhaps you just thought wrong, Atom?
Like Northwestel I throttled back a tad elsewhere, busy doing other things.
Merry Christmas Atom, be safe and enjoy.

Mark wrote:
7:36pm Wednesday December 14, 2016

Bylaw in Whitehorse is a joke. They operate on profit from convienient fines.They have parking Nazis and spineless officers. One time my boy was riding his dirtbike where he shouldn’t be riding it and I had one visit me about it (good job) . The young guy stood about 6’5” and towered over me and out weighted by about 80lbs. I’m only 5’ 6” 175lbs .Yet during our conversation,he would not look me in the eye. He stared at his ticket book and explained the bylaw about this.(good job) after noticing his meek demeaner I thought I’d really test his knowledge by asking questions and he really seemed like he didn’t want to be bothering me(which he wasn’t) . I was just surprised that he didn’t seem the type for enforcement despite his physical presence. He was kind and polite but I was still surprised. On the other hand there is a particular parking ticket officer in town who you’d think he was paid by commision by the way he loves writing them.And then there’s the big bald guy who you’d swear couldn’t be a real cop and stakes people out. I believe he is now driving the dog paddy wagon.What a joke he is.I can’t wait to have a run in with him.
Someday maybe the city will work for the people who elect them and screen employees with the interest of the citizens.

Atom wrote:
10:12am Wednesday December 14, 2016

JJ…my experience exactly. Worse to call the RCMP about somone literally knocking down road signs at the time of the call….josey….I thought you retired? Well. it was a lovely goodbye.

Larry, good point, it is shameful….but they still go to ‘Work’ and collect a pay check…..ignoring those who look for accountability.

Josey Wales wrote:
7:04pm Tuesday December 13, 2016

Indeed Larry…indeed! Shameful what is being called “public safety” in this sty.
Too busy patting themselves on the back and planning parties and champagne socialist events I suppose…those nobles?

JJ wrote:
6:41pm Tuesday December 13, 2016

Not only that, but when you call bylaw, the response I’ve had the 2 times I’ve ever called, is a big sigh of exasperation at the other end of the line.  I don’t bother to call anymore.

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