A bylaw is a form of legislation or a law created by a local government in British Columbia. Local governments are granted authority to enact bylaws on certain topics by provincial statutes such as the Local Government Act and the Community Charter.
Bylaws are not the same from one community to another - one community’s local government may enact a bylaw banning or regulating certain things, but another community may choose not to. The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George has bylaws covering various topics and the most common issues are:
Frequently asked questions about the Regional District's bylaws are listed below, or for a full listing of bylaws, contact Corporate Services at 250-960-4400 (or toll-free at 1-800-667-1959).
The penalty varies with the circumstances and the maximum fine in BC for contravening a regional district's bylaw is $2,000 per offence per day; however, this maximum fine is not always imposed. The penalty applied in a case is determined by the bylaw in question and the method of enforcement used.
In many cases, bylaw contraventions can be resolved without enforcement actions. For example, if a person voluntarily complies with the Bylaw Enforcement Officer's request to resolve a bylaw contravention, a penalty might not be applied.
For more information on penalties, refer to the related bylaw or feel free to email the Bylaw Enforcement Officer to ask questions.
The Zoning Bylaw sets out zoning regulations specifying what kind of land uses are allowed in a zone. These may include:
Is there a zoning bylaw issue that should be investigated? Submit a complaint.
The Unsightly Premises Regulation Bylaw prohibits persons who own or occupy properties from allowing them to become or remain unsightly. Examples of an unsightly property include, but are not limited to, having:
Is there an unsightly premises bylaw issue that should be investigated? Submit a complaint.
The Regional District does not have bylaws regulating weeds or grasses, and therefore does not investigate or act on complaints about noxious weeds, grasses or vegetation that is overgrown. For information on preventing and eliminating noxious weeds or invasive plants, telephone the Northwest Invasive Plants Council at 1-866-44WEEDS or visit them online.
The Special Events Bylaw requires a special event permit* for any event reasonably expected to have more than 1,000 attendees. The permit fee is $200 and the application must be submitted at least 180 days prior to the event.
For more information, contact Planning Services at 250-960-4400 (toll free 1-800-667-1959) or email email@example.com.
Is there a special events bylaw issue that should be investigated? Submit a complaint.
*Other regulations may apply to events, regardless of the number of attendees, including Agricultural Land Commission or provincial health regulations.
The Regional District does not have bylaws regulating noise (except for the Boating Noise Control Bylaw for motorboat noise on certain lakes) and, in most cases, is unable to investigate or respond to noise concerns.
If there is ongoing noise that cannot be resolved with the property owner, a lawyer can be consulted to determine if there are grounds for a private lawsuit.
Illegal dumping is when waste is purposefully left on public or private land rather than using legal disposal methods like a landfill or recycling facility. There are provincial laws against illegal dumping, and it is also prohibited by the Regional District's Unsightly Premises Regulation Bylaw.
Is there an illegal dumping issue that should be investigated? Submit a complaint.
Illegal dumping can also be reported to provincial authorities on the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1-877-952-RAPP or online.
The Regional District does not have an animal control service or animal control bylaws and cannot deal with complaints about animal behaviour which includes, but is not limited to dogs that are:
Local police have the authority under provincial legislation to take action on a "dangerous dog" (as defined by the law, see Section 49 of the Community Charter).
If a dog attack on a person or animal is in progress, call local police at 9-1-1. In a case with no immediate danger, call the local police's non-emergency line to report the dangerous dog. Dogs harassing wildlife can also be reported to the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-RAPP or online.
If a person, animal or property is harmed by a dog, the Regional District has no legal authority to require compensation. A lawyer can be consulted to determine if there are grounds for a private lawsuit.
The Regional District does not have authority to deal with animal complaints including the abuse or neglect of animals.*
If there is an animal being abused or neglected, report it to the SPCA at 1-855-622-7722.
* See FAQs above for details on the Regional District not having animal control bylaws.
The Regional District does not have authority to deal with animal complaints including dogs and other animals that stray and roam onto other properties, or dogs barking.*
If an animal repeatedly strays, or barking is ongoing, and the issue cannot be resolved with the animal's owner, a lawyer can be consulted to determine if there are grounds for a private lawsuit.
* See FAQs above for details on the Regional District not having animal control bylaws, and that noise control regulations are limited to motorboat noise on certain lakes.
When something is built or placed on property without permission, it is trespassing. The Regional District does not have bylaws that deal with trespassing and cannot impose penalties if someone trespasses on property, or compel them to remove fences, buildings or other items wrongfully placed.
If someone has trespassed on land, a lawyer can be consulted to determine if there are grounds for a private lawsuit.
Also, consider verifying the property line as neighbours can often disagree on its location. Hire a surveyor for this as the Regional District does not have the ability to conduct legal surveys.
The Zoning Bylaw establishes minimum distances for placing buildings and certain other things near property lines. These setback requirements vary depending on the zone a property is in and whenever someone builds on a property, it is their responsibility to meet applicable setback requirements.
Is there a setback issue that should be investigated? Submit a complaint.
Much of the authority for protecting the environment, including lakes and streams, rests with other government agencies. For example, many regulations prohibiting pollution of the environment, including water, are under the jurisdiction of the Province of British Columbia and can be reported at 1-877-952-RAPP or online.
However, the Regional District does have authority to protect lakes in designating Development Permit Areas around certain lakes. Anyone who wishes to perform land development (building, excavating, removing trees, etc.) within these areas must first obtain a development permit from the Regional District. This development permit is in addition to any other permits they may need, like a building permit. Development permit applications are reviewed by the Regional District to ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect the natural environment. For more information visit the development permit webpage.
Is there development near a lake without a required development permit that should be investigated? Submit a complaint.