What is a community standards bylaw?

    The County of Grande Prairie’s new Community Standards Bylaw (currently in draft form), is aimed at setting standards that will support the overall health, safety and viability of communities across the County. The new County bylaw provides regulations regarding standards for the following areas in one all-encompassing bylaw:

    ·  rural addressing

    ·  unsightly premises

    ·  bullying and hazing

    ·  graffiti and abatement

    ·  noise

    ·  nuisance

    ·  cannabis

    ·  waste management

    ·  false alarms

    ·  fire hydrants

    ·  sidewalks

    Why is the County undertaking this project?

    We listened. We heard your concerns about community issues on safety and wellbeing. With the County’s population on the rise, the new bylaw sets standards to make our growing communities safer, more attractive and more enjoyable for residents. The bylaw also gives the County the tool to proactively enforce these standards.

    What input does the County want from residents?

    The County is seeking public input on a number of sections of the proposed bylaw to determine if any modifications are needed, what should be considered in evaluating this new bylaw and how soon the bylaw should be reviewed after it is put in place.

    What will happen to the input received?

    Input received by March 24 will be considered for any modifications prior to the bylaw going back to County Council for second and third reading.

    How do I report a Bylaw violation?

    The public can contact Regional Enforcement Services to report a bylaw violation in the following ways:

    Phone: 780-532-9727

    Email: enforcementservices@countygp.ab.ca

    Online: www.countygp.ab.ca/occurrencereport

    In person: Community Services Building. Open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed between 12:00p.m. and 1:00 p.m. and on statutory holidays

    Occurrence Reporting form: Pick up a pamphlet at any local municipal office, complete and submit it.

    Secure Fax: 888-779-5895

    Please note that the Community Standards Bylaw is still in draft form and must be approved by Council (given third reading) before it’s put in place in the County.

    Why aren’t pets addressed in this draft Bylaw?

    Pet ownership is addressed in the County’s Animal Control Bylaw #3032, which can be read at www.countygp.ab.ca/bylaws

    Why is Bullying & Hazing included in the draft Community Standards Bylaw when it’s investigated by the RCMP?

    Bullying and hazing was added to the draft Community Standards Bylaw at the request of the RCMP as well as other agencies in the community such as Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). The RCMP are authorized to enforce this bylaw. The addition of this section in the Community Standards Bylaw provides the RCMP with another tool to ensure public safety, without having to lay a Criminal Code charge. The RCMP are responsible for investigations and enforcement of this section of the bylaw.

    To discuss further, please contact County Regional Enforcement Services at 780-532-9727.

    What does Bullying and Hazing mean?

    As outlined in the Definitions section of the DRAFT – Community Standards Bylaw, which can be found under Key Documents, “Bullying” means verbal or physical abuse, threats, taunts, teasing, name calling or repeated abusive communication, direct or through any medium. “Hazing” means any intentional or reckless act meant to induce physical pain, humiliation or embarrassment that causes physical or mental discomfort and is directed against a Person for the purpose of being initiated, introduced into, affiliated with or maintaining a membership in any club, school, athletic team or other similar group or organization in which a Person may participate.

    Why isn’t the Noise section of the draft Community Standards Bylaw more specific?

    Regional Enforcement Services receives a variety of complaints related to noise. All the possible causes of unreasonable noise would not enhance this section of the bylaw, as the County is hoping to mitigate unreasonable noise, no matter what the cause.

    Specific measurements like decibel levels are not included in this section of the draft bylaw because there are many factors that need to be considered when assessing whether a noise is unreasonable. Reports of unreasonable noise will be assessed on a case-by-case basis based on the factors listed in section 7.3 of the draft bylaw, which are:

    (a) proximity of the sound to sleeping facilities, whether residential or commercial;

    (b) the time of day or night the sound occurs;

    (c) the duration and volume of the sound; and

    (d) whether the sound is recurrent, intermittent or constant.

    To discuss further, please contact County Regional Enforcement Services at 780-532-9727.

    Why are “Quiet Hours” defined as 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. in the Noise section of the draft bylaw? Why don’t they start earlier and end later?

    The Noise section of the draft Community Standards Bylaw was developed to support the health and safety of our communities, while remaining reasonable. The specific quiet hours were developed based on the experience of Regional Enforcement Services in conjunction with what has worked in other comparable municipalities.

    We’re seeking public input on the Noise and other sections of this draft Community Standards Bylaw and invite you to provide feedback by completing the draft Community Standards Bylaw survey.

    Why was the Nuisance section of the draft bylaw developed to include specific situations and not others?

    This section of the draft Community Standards Bylaw was developed to address community concerns that can impact the health, safety and enjoyment of the community and are not covered in other bylaws. The specific points outlined in the draft bylaw were included based on feedback from community members and experts as well as the experience of Regional Enforcement Services.

    We’re seeking public input on the Nuisance and other sections of this draft Community Standards Bylaw. Is there a topic that you think was missed in the development of this draft bylaw? Provide your feedback by completing the survey.

    If offensive odours are considered a potential disturbance to someone under the Nuisance section of the draft bylaw, what about farms?

    Agricultural operations under the Agricultural Operation Practices Act are not in violation of this section of the draft bylaw.

    What about offensive cannabis odour?

    An offensive odour that disturbs another person would fall under the Nuisance section of the draft Community Standards Bylaw. Under the cannabis section of the draft bylaw, people are also prohibited from using cannabis in a way that harasses, annoys, molests or otherwise interferes with another person.

    What areas in the County are part of the Residential Waste Cart Collection Program?

    Households in the neighbourhoods of Dunes, Maple Ridge Estates, Taylor Estates, Carriage Lane, Wedgewood Estates, Whispering Ridge in Clairmont, Westlake in Clairmont, and some other areas of Clairmont have been provided with rolling waste carts as part of the Residential Waste Cart Collection Program. The carts provided to households as part of the program align with the requirements outlined in the draft Community Standards Bylaw. 

    What do I do if I am interested in receiving curbside waste and/or recycle collection service but I live in a rural subdivision that doesn't receive it?

    Residents who own property in County Rural Estate subdivisions interested in curbside waste and/or recycle collection services are encouraged to work together with residents within their subdivisions as a group to gain acceptance for this program. Such a program requires a curbside collection fee and acceptance by the residents collected via survey before council will approve the service. If there is strong interest within the community, you are encouraged to send a letter to our Public Works office. The request is then reviewed by council who provide the final decision for the program.

    Why are the times outlined for placing and removing waste collection containers so strict? What if I can’t follow the bylaw because I work long hours or I'm out of town?

    The waste management section of the draft bylaw was developed based on examples from comparable municipalities. The use of proper waste collection containers is a standard practice to ensure communities are clean and to avoid hazards related to exposed garbage. It’s important that waste collection containers are not left on roadways for extended periods to avoid potential safety hazards and to support neighbourhood beautification.

    Residents who are unable to collect their waste containers in a timely manner are encouraged to make alternate arrangements, which could include having a friend or neighbor collect your waste container in case you are unable to. Residents also have the option to utilize County Recycling and Waste Management Facilities free of charge. For more information visit www.countygp.ab.ca/recyclingprograms

    What are the penalties for violating sections of this bylaw?

    Download the draft Community Standards Bylaw under Key Documents and navigate to page 14 to read Schedule “A”, which lists all the specified penalties for each section.